Tesla CEO Elon Musk‘s wealth remains at historic highs. However, NASA has plans this August to launch a probe to an asteroid boasting so many precious metals, it instantly puts the billionaire’s net worth to shame. NASA’s launch of the James Webb Space Telescope enables us to view some of the oldest galaxies and stars within the universe. Now, NASA has turned their attention to a unique asteroid identified as 16 Psyche.
Asteroids are a common topic among space exploration, however, 16 Psyche is distinctive among its cousins as The U.S. Sun reports it is largely comprised of nickel, iron, or gold. As for its worth, NASA speculates it to range around $10 quadrillion.
There’s no doubt then the asteroid out-values Elon Musk, however, that’s just the start. The news outlet states the asteroid far surpasses even the wealth of our entire global economy. For comparison, that number lies at about $84.5 trillion.
Despite its worth, however, NASA has no plans to mine the incredible asteroid. The spectacular find is located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. Now, while the James Webb Space Telescope tells Outsiders globally about the origins of our universe, NASA’s Discovery Mission will probe the surface of the asteroid in order to see whether or not 16 Psyche can tell us about the formation of the core of our planet, as well as that of other planets.
Scientists plan to unravel this mystery as it’s likely the metallic asteroid survived violent collisions between planets and other space debris early in the formation of our solar system.
Explore the Makeup of NASA’s Golden Asteroid
Simply knowing a golden asteroid exists within the confines of our universe is extraordinary. However, the makeup of the space rock is unique as well.
As per the news outlet, 16 Pysche measures an impressive 140 miles in width. NASA suspects its highly metallic composition as it is also remarkably bright.
Exploring the asteroid’s surface and underlying layers promise to tell us about the formation of our solar system and its planets. Additionally, NASA’s Discovery Mission will explore the expanse of the asteroid’s large 4-mile crater. The exploration of the crater is crucial in regard to potential hazardous events. This is because scientists hope it will teach us how to potentially deflect an asteroid of this size large should one ever threaten our planet.
However, that said, the news outlet reported NASA has upgraded its asteroid hazard software. The updates should help better detect potentially dangerous space rocks.
Additionally, in probing 16 Pysche, scientists hope to both map its surface and determine its age.
As for its actual launch, NASA’s Discovery Mission will travel past Mars in May 2023. From there, it will continue on the second half of its journey for three more years before reaching the golden asteroid in 2026.