Artist rendering of the metal asteroid 16 Psyche. (Arizona State University)
NASA recently announced the go-ahead for a new Discovery-level mission that would send a spacecraft to explore 16 Psyche, a 130-mile-wide asteroid in the Solar System’s main belt between Mars and Jupiter. 16 Psyche is a relatively small world but is made almost entirely of metals—some of them what we’d consider precious on Earth, like nickel, gold, and platinum—and not only would that make it a fantastic-looking place with mountainous ridges of nickel and valleys filled with green olivine and yellow sulfur deposits, but also incredibly valuable…some estimates place 16 Psyche as “worth” up to $10,000 quadrillion.
Yes that’s quadrillion, as in one thousand trillion. (And times ten thousand!)
Read the rest of this story by Irene Klotz on Seeker here: Step Aside Iron Man, NASA’s Going to Explore a Strange Iron World Tagged: asteroid, exploration, metal, NASA, Psyche, Seeker, solar system, space