Impress your friends with some knowledge about the main asteroid belt on the ancient space rocks orbiting in our solar system.


This is not your typical space rock.

The 16 Psyche asteroid, one of the heaviest objects in the main asteroid belt orbiting Mars and Jupiter, could be made entirely of metal, according to a study published this week.

Even more intriguing, the asteroid’s metal is estimated to be worth an estimated 10,000 billion US dollars (that’s 15 extra zeros), more than Earth’s entire economy.

“We have seen meteorites are mostly metal, but Psyche may be unique in that it could be a perfectly fine asteroid,” said lead author Tracy Becker of the Southwest Research Institute. made of iron and nickel.

“The earth has a metal core, a mantle and a crust. It is possible that when a protoplanet Psyche was forming, it was hit by another body in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust, ”Becker said.

Using the Hubble Space Telescope, Becker was able to analyze the asteroid in more detail than ever before. The finding was published in a study in the Journal of Planetary Science.

The study was carried out while NASA was preparing to launch a spacecraft (also known as the Psyche), which would travel to the asteroid as part of an attempt to understand the origin of the planet’s core.

The mission is set to launch in 2022 and will reach the asteroid by 2026. Metal asteroids are relatively rare in the solar system and scientists believe that Psyche may offer a unique opportunity. most to see inside a planet.

What makes Psyche so unique is that it appears to be the exposed iron-nickel core of an early planet, according to NASA.

“What makes Psyche and other asteroids interesting is that they are considered the building blocks of the solar system,” says Becker. To understand what actually makes a planet and has the ability to see the interior of a planet is fascinating.

“Once we get to Psyche, we’ll really understand if that’s the case, even if it’s not going as we expected,” she said. “Anytime there are surprises, always interesting”.

NASA has no plans to bring the large asteroid home and lacks the technology to mine it for its precious metals. The researchers told CBS News in 2017 that they had no plans to capitalize on the asteroid’s composition value.

Carol Polanskey, scientist at the Psyche project, told CBS at the time: “We will learn about planet formation, but we will not try to bring any materials back and use. it’s for industry.

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