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Meet the asteroid so valuable it could crash the global economy
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In 2022 NASA will launch an exploratory space mission to an asteroid so valuable, it could completely crash the global economy. The asteroid, named 16 Psyche, has an iron-nickel core and contains other precious metals such as gold and platinum. 16 Psyche has an estimated value of a staggering $A14,000 quadrillion, dwarfing the current global economy which stands at around $US78 trillion.

However despite interest from investors and entrepreneurs, the 2022 mission will be purely scientific. As well as its extremely high dollar value, the metal asteroid could have great scientific value. It is believed that 16 Psyche is a survivor of collisions between planets from around the time our solar system was forming and could potentially hold clues as to how Earth’s planet core was formed. Most of the planets so far explored by humans have a surface of rock, ice or a mixture of the two. Although an asteroid, 16 Psyche is unique in that is surface is made almost entirely of metal.

16 Psyche resides in an asteroid belt located between Mars and Jupiter. The mission to the belt, name The Discovery Mission, will set off in 2022 and is expected to arrive by 2026. This is four years earlier than originally planned. “This will enable us to fulfil our science objectives sooner and at a reduced cost,” said Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington.

Although the 2022 Discovery Mission is purely scientific, it may just be a matter of time before 16 Psyche is seen as a mining opportunity for wealth-seeking humans. In 2015 the United States congress passed a law which allows US Space firms to own and sell resources they mine from space, including asteroids. With a value many times more than our current global economy, one can only imagine what kind of an impact 16 Psyche would have if it were to be brought to Earth.

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