Asteroid being captured by NASA worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000 would make everyone on Earth a billionaire
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Featured Image Credit: NASA / Aubrey Gemignani/NASA via Getty Images
NASA’s latest mission has seen a rocket set off to ‘one of the most intriguing objects in the main asteroid belt’ that could theoretically make everyone on Earth rich.
The asteroid is jam-packed with gold as well as iron and nickel, with an estimated combined value of $10,000,000,000,000,000,000 (otherwise known as $10,000 quadrillion/£8,000 quadrillion).
However, in reality, if scientists went through with this plan, it would crash the world’s economy - kind of like if every living person won the lottery jackpot.
It is just as well that NASA has said mining the asteroid isn’t its intention. The space agency has said it launched the mission in order to learn about planetary cores and how planets form.
A press release issued by NASA in July read: "With less than 100 days to go before its launch, teams of engineers and technicians are working almost around the clock to ensure the orbiter is ready to journey 2.5 billion miles to a metal-rich asteroid that may tell us more about planetary cores and how planets form."
NASA said the asteroid orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter ‘at a distance ranging from 235 million to 309 million miles (378 million to 497 million kilometers) from the Sun’.
Scientists believe the spacecraft will reach the asteroid around July 2029 and will get a slight boost in velocity from Mars when it passes the red planet in May 2026.
“Once in orbit, the spacecraft will map and study Psyche using a multispectral imager, a gamma-ray and neutron spectrometer, a magnetometer, and a radio instrument (for gravity measurement),” NASA added.
While there are nine other metal-rich asteroids known to exist in our solar system, NASA chose 16 Psyche as it is the largest, and less likely to have been changed from impacts in space.
“Psyche is by far the largest, and that's why we want to go to it because the smaller ones are more likely to have been changed by things impacting them, whereas the big one, we think, is going to be completely unchanged,” Nicola Fox, the associated administrator for NASA’s science mission directorate, told Space.com.