NASA has launched an exciting mission to the asteroid Psyche, often referred to as the ‘golden asteroid.’ This space rock is believed to contain a core of iron, nickel, and gold worth a staggering $10,000 quadrillion. The spacecraft, an unmanned mission, took off from the Kennedy Space Centre in Florida and is scheduled to reach the asteroid in the summer of 2029.
Here’s what you need to know about the mission and Psyche:
What is Psyche?
Psyche, also known as 16 Psyche, is a metallic asteroid located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter. It was discovered in 1852 and is one of the largest asteroids, measuring approximately 140 miles (226km) wide. What makes it particularly intriguing is its composition, believed to include a core of iron, nickel, and gold.
The $10,000 Quadrillion Asteroid: The value of Psyche is estimated at $10,000 quadrillion. In the US, a quadrillion is represented as 1 followed by 15 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000), while in the UK, it’s 1 followed by 24 zeros (1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000). To put this into perspective, it’s an astronomical amount that could make every person on Earth a billionaire.
Why the Psyche Mission is Exciting: The Psyche mission is part of NASA’s low-cost robotic Discovery program, aiming to explore previously uncharted asteroids. What makes Psyche particularly fascinating to scientists is that it’s thought to be unlike other asteroids, which are typically composed of rock and ice. Researchers believe that Psyche may be the exposed metallic core of an early planet, offering valuable insights into the solar system’s history.
This mission has the potential to provide remarkable insights into the formation of planets and asteroids, shedding light on the early stages of our solar system’s evolution. It’s an exciting endeavor in the exploration of space and celestial bodies.