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NASA will explore an asteroid that may be worth more than the entire global economy

Say hello to “16 psychic”. You will hear a lot about this Asteroid 226 km wide In the coming months NASA It is close to launching a mission of the same name, in August 2022, to study its components.

iron? Nickel? gold? Observations made so far point to one that they predicted would make this asteroid Technically it is worth about $10,000 trillion. This is much higher than the global economy, which was worth about $84.5 trillion in 2020 according to statista (A few trillion less than in 2019).

Whatever its perceived value, the mineral-rich ’16 Psyche’ is a heavenly rarity. It is located within the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is three times farther from the Sun than Earth, and was first discovered in 1852.

Multiple views of 16 psyches filmed by the Very Large Telescope

16 multiple psychological scenes were captured by the Very Large Telescope.

Our moon is one-sixteenth in diameter, but arguably more interesting. The soul is believed to be the core of iron, nickel, and exposed metallic gold for a protoplanets. Most asteroids are rocky or icy.

“If it turns out to be part of a metallic core, it will be part of the first generation of early cores in our solar system,” said Lindy Elkins Tanton of Arizona State University, who is leading the Psyche mission, as principal investigator. “But we really don’t know, and we won’t know anything for sure until we get there. We’re full of questions and not many answers. This is a real exploration.”

Studying an asteroid from afar is an impossible task. The Hubble Space Telescope can’t discern many details either. However, from the radar data, scientists know that it resembles a potato. This turns sideways.

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The Psyche mission is a trip to a single metal asteroid orbiting the sun between Mars and Jupiter.

Psyche’s mission is a trip to a single metal asteroid orbiting the sun.

The NASA mission will see the orbiter spend at least 21 months mapping and studying the properties of the asteroid from 700 kilometers above the asteroid’s surface. On board, there will be a payload kit that includes a magnetometer to measure any magnetic field, as well as imaging devices for imaging and mapping the surface.

In the meantime, spectrometers will determine what the surface is made of by measuring the gamma rays and neutrons emitted by it.

NASA’s Psyche mission is part of the Discovery Program for Low-Cost Robotic Space Missions. Psyche Orbiter will be launched in August 2022, it will pass by Mars nine months later to help with gravity and finally reach the asteroid in January 2026.

“We don’t know what we’re going to find,” Elkins Tanton said. “I hope we’re totally surprised.”

* With information from Forbes United States.

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