A giant metal asteroid will soon be marked with NASA’s presence. The space agency has all its plans ready to send a spacecraft to the asteroid that is believed to reveal the secret about the formation of the solar system.
It is believed by the scientists that the asteroid was possibly a planet and might have lost its outer core after its collision with other space objects. NASA wants to find out if the asteroid was really a planet earlier with its size being close to that or Mars.
The asteroid, 16 Psyche, is also unique in terms of its build. While most of the celestial objects have an icy or rocky body, this asteroid is primarily made out of metals. Moreover, the asteroid is massive with a width of 200 kilometers.
There are different types metals on the asteroid including iron and nickel. Some of the rare metals on Earth like platinum, cobalt, and gold are also abundantly present on the asteroid. If the metal could be priced with Earth’s pricing, it would be way more than the total of world’s economy.
Psyche Principal Investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University in Tempe says that the iron found on the asteroid would alone cost $10,000 quadrillion. To give an idea, the gross world product in 2015 totalled just $73.7 trillion.
Led by the researchers from the Arizona State University, the mission is supposed to be launched by 2023. The probe will reach 16 Psyche by 2030 and start sending data back to the Earth. The findings of the probe are supposed to give the scientists some vital information about how the planets form separate layers of core, mantle, and crust.