TECH

NASA Fast Tracks Mission To Asteroid Worth 'Quadrillions'

If brought back to Earth it would collapse the world economy.

25/05/2017 12:52 | Updated 02 June 2017

NASA has officially fast tracked its mission to Psyche, an asteroid so rich in resources that if it were ever towed back to Earth it could collapse the world economy.

Originally scheduled for a 2023 launch NASA has brought it forward by an entire year to 2022.

Found between Mars and Jupiter, Psyche is made almost entirely of iron. In fact it contains so much of the stuff that experts have estimated its value at around $10,000 quadrillion.

ASU

That’s a problem, you see the entire world economy is actually only worth around $73 trillion.

At around 200km in diameter, this floating ball of rock and metal is believed to contain iron, nickel and even some of Earth’s rarer elements including platinum, gold and cobalt.

Thankfully NASA’s not planning on towing it back to Earth and destroying the world economy, at least not yet.

For now the Psyche mission will be focused on exploration. It’ll give scientists a chance to see sights that have only been hypothesised until now.

“What would an impact crater into a metal surface look like? We don’t know, we’ve never seen one.” explains Elkins-Tanton.

Psyche’s history is almost as fascinating as its metal composition.

“We think Psyche is the metal core of a small planet that was destroyed in the high-energy, high-speed first 1/100,00ths of the Universe’s life.”

The psyche mission is expected to launch in 2023, and it will take until 2030 for the spacecraft to arrive.

Incredible Astronomy Photographs:

  • 14
    Stephen Voss
    Auroral Nuggets
  • 13
    Richard Inman
    Antarctic Space Station
  • 12
    Rick Whitacre
    Between the Rocks
  • 11
    Tommy Richardson
    Crystal Brilliance
  • 10
    Nicholas Roemmelt
    Frozen Giant
  • 9
    Philippe Jacquot
    ISS under Venus and the Moon
  • 8
    Ivan Eder
    M8 Lagoon Nebula
  • 7
    Giles Rocholl
    The northern lights illuminate the lagoon at Jokulsarlon, Iceland photo tour, February 2016
  • 6
    Sean Goebel
    Parallel Mountains
  • 5
    Lee Cook
    Alone
  • 4
    Katherine Young
    Rise Lunation
  • 3
    Rune Engebø
    Seven Magic Points
  • 2
    Melanie Thorne
    The Diamond Ring
  • 1
    Michael Jäeger
    The Disconnection Event
Suggest a correction
Comments

CONVERSATIONS