The NASA Mission to Psyche 16, the Asteroid Worth Quadrillions

February 9, 2017 5:00 am

NASA has been having some budget concerns, but they may have figured out a way to make sure those are a thing of the distant past. Quite simply, NASA has located an asteroid so valuable that it could potentially destabilize the world economy. Needless to say, NASA wants to get there and has announced a mission to do so.

The asteroid 16 Psyche is located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It may have been a planet in the process of forming, leaving behind a mix of metals similar to our core. The result is an asteroid consisting mostly of nickel and iron. (And, potentially, other lucrative metals.) Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission and the director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, has calculated the value of just the iron at $10,000 quadrillion.

How big is that number? The gross world product in 2015 was an estimated $73.7 trillion. Frankly, there is nothing even approaching a precedent for injecting an asset of this value into the world economy. That noted, we won’t have to deal with these implications for some time. The mission doesn’t leave until 2023, isn’t expected to reach 16 Psyche until 2030, and even then, they have no idea how to bring this massive score back home.

To read more about the asteroid and potential world-destabilizing jackpot for our space program, click here. See NASA’s representation of the mission in the video below.


RealClearLife Staff

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