NASA has announced that it will launch a trip to examine an asteroid worth an incredible £8,000 quadrillion in 2019. If successful, this expedition could hypothetically make everyone on Earth a millionaire.
The 140-mile-wide, metal-rich Psyche asteroid, which orbits the Sun between Mars and Jupiter, will be surveyed by the Psyche expedition.
The asteroid is special because it looks to be “the exposed nickel-iron core of an early planet,” one of the “building blocks” of our solar system, according to NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.
According to the organization’s website, “Deep within rocky, terrestrial planets – including Earth – scientists infer the presence of metallic cores, but these lie unreachably far below the planets’ rocky mantles and crusts.”
“Because we cannot see or measure Earth’s core directly, Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets.”
According to Forbes, the Psyche is made of materials that are comparable to those in the Earth’s core, which is believed to contain gold, nickel, and iron valued at $10,000 quadrillion (£8,000 quadrillion).
In an earlier article, the outlet also discussed how mining the asteroid and reaping its wealth would “destroy the puny Earth economy of roughly $74 trillion.”
NASA’s mission was scheduled to launch earlier this year but was delayed, the space agency claimed, “as a result of mission development concerns.”
This prompted an internal assessment of “whether the mission would be able to overcome these issues to successfully launch in 2023.”
The Psyche mission is still underway, according to NASA, which is now aiming for a fresh launch window to open on 10 October 2023 while the independent review board is still finalizing its report.
“I appreciate the hard work of the independent review board and the JPL-led team toward mission success,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator of NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.
“The lessons learned from Psyche will be implemented across our entire mission portfolio.”
“I am excited about the science insights Psyche will provide during its lifetime and its promise to contribute to our understanding of our own planet’s core.”
As a part of NASA’s Discovery program, a series of “low-cost, competitive missions guided by a single principle scientist,” the Psyche mission was launched in 2017.
Laurie Leshin, director of JPL, added that she was “extremely proud of the Psyche team” and added: “During this review, they have demonstrated significant progress already made toward the future launch date.”
“I am confident in the plan moving forward and excited by the unique and important science this mission will return.”