Home Latest News Why asteroid Psyche has ‘high value’ and considered worth $100,000 quadrillion? – Times of India

Why asteroid Psyche has ‘high value’ and considered worth $100,000 quadrillion? – Times of India

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Why asteroid Psyche has ‘high value’ and considered worth $100,000 quadrillion? – Times of India

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NEW DELHI: For the very first time, a Nasa spacecraft is poised to embark on a journey toward an unusual celestial object, distinct from the typical rock, ice, or gas formations: the metal asteroid Psyche.
By examining this celestial anomaly, scientists aim to unravel more mysteries about the inner cores of rocky planets like our own, or even potentially classify a previously undiscovered category of cosmic entities.
The Psyche mission is a part of Nasa’s Discovery Program, focusing on cost-effective robotic space explorations. While most asteroids are comprised of rock or ice, 16 Psyche is believed to be the exposed metallic core of a deceased planet. This unique feature raises hopes that the mission will enhance our understanding of Earth’s own planetary core.
Trailing a luminous blue hue emanating from its state-of-the-art electric propulsion system and flanked by two expansive solar arrays, the Nasa probe, roughly the size of a van, is expected to reach its destination in the Asteroid Belt, nestled between Mars and Jupiter, by July 2029.
Over the subsequent two years, the spacecraft will deploy an array of advanced instruments to hunt for signs of an ancient magnetic field, explore its chemical composition, and analyze the minerals and terrain of Psyche.
This Psyche spacecraft, named after the asteroid it’s studying, will pioneer next-generation communications using lasers instead of radio waves—a technological leap that Nasa likens to upgrading ancient telephone lines on Earth to fiber optics.
Here are important things to know about Psyche:
Named in honor of the Greek goddess of the soul, Psyche was first identified by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis in 1852. This colossal M-Type asteroid is believed to represent the incomplete core of a miniature planet that failed to fully develop during the early stages of our solar system’s formation.
The metal asteroid Psyche is one of the most intriguing and mysterious objects in the solar system. It is believed to be the exposed core of a protoplanet that was stripped of its mantle and crust by violent collisions in the early history of the solar system. Scientists think that Psyche is mostly made of iron and nickel, which are rare and valuable metals on Earth.
According to an estimate reported by Forbes magazine, Psyche is predominantly composed of iron and nickel, potentially giving it a staggering value of up to $10,000 quadrillion (that’s $10,000,000,000,000,000,000).
To put this in perspective, the entire global economy is valued at roughly around $110 trillion.
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the mission’s lead researcher behind the calculation, dismissed it as merely a “lighthearted intellectual exercise without any basis in reality.”
“We lack the technological capability to bring Psyche back to Earth as a species,” she emphasized during a recent briefing. Such an attempt could lead to catastrophic consequences, potentially triggering an apocalyptic collision. Moreover, even if such a feat were accomplished, it would oversaturate the metals market, plummeting their value to absolute zero, she explained.
According to a report in space.com, certain companies, including AstroForge, are actively strategizing asteroid mining initiatives, according to Metzger.
“I am confident that asteroid mining will become a viable and lucrative endeavor,” he affirmed, expressing his belief that the essential technology could be developed within a few decades. Metzger also noted that smaller asteroids, particularly M-type asteroids, would probably be the initial focus for asteroid mining operations.
However, contrasting studies suggest that the asteroid may not be as metallic or dense as initially assumed. Nasa’s upcoming mission aims to definitively resolve this debate about Psyche’s composition.
(With inputs from agencies)



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