- 16 Psyche is mainly metal, made up of iron, nickel and precious metals
- On Earth, the iron would be worth $10,000 quadrillion
- NASA will launch a mission to 16 Psyche in 2022 and it will arrive in 2026
- If brought back to Earth, it would crash the worlds economy
This asteroid was found by Annibale de Gasparis on March 17, 1852 from Naples and named after the Greek nymph Psyche. The first fifteen asteroids to be found were given symbols by astronomers as a type of short-hand notation. In 1851, however, J. F. Encke suggested using a circled number. 16 Psyche was the first new asteroid to be found that was designated with this scheme (in 1852 by J. Ferguson).
What’s crazy is, if someone were able to get a hold of this unimaginably expensive rock, it would completely crash the world’s economy.
Radar observations indicate that it is made of iron-nickel. Psyche appears to be a case of an exposed metallic core from a bigger differentiated parent body. Unlike some other M-type asteroids, Psyche shows no sign of the presence of water or water-bearing minerals on its surface, consistent with its interpretation as a metallic body. Small amounts of pyroxene appear to be present.
If Psyche is the core remnant of a bigger parent body, we might expect other asteroids on similar orbits. Psyche does not belong to any asteroid family. One theory is that the collision occurred very early in the solar system’s history, and all the other remnants have since been ground into fragments by subsequent collisions or had their orbits perturbed beyond recognition.
The world’s economy right now is made up of around $74 trillion, that’s 74 with 12 zeros, and this rock is worth around $10 quintillion, which is 1 with 31 zeros or $1,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,0000
16 Psyche is over 135,000 times the value of all the money on Earth.
NASA is interested in this asteroid, and is planning to send a spacecraft to explore it. They plan on studying it as it may have been a part of the core of an earlier planet.