heavy metal

Why Psyche is worth so much more than just cash

NASA/JPL

You might have heard about a certain space rock that is orbiting in the asteroid belt carrying $10,000-quadrillion-worth of iron. That’s a 1 followed by 19 zeros.

This asteroid is called 16 Psyche, and at about 140 miles wide (the length of Massachusetts), it’s one of the largest objects in the asteroid belt orbiting the Sun between Mars and Jupiter.

That’s because Psyche appears to be an exposed core of an ancient protoplanet.

NASA/JPL

Planetary cores can tell us a lot about planetary formation.

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Enter Psyche.

NASA/JPL

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And we’re headed there this decade. The Psyche spacecraft is slated to launch in 2022.

NASA/JPL

“Space exploration is for all of humanity, to inspire us to be bolder and more effective in our own lives, here on Earth,” Elkins-Tanton says.

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“If we can build a robot that will fly through space and discover new worlds for us, then we can solve our problems here at home, as well.”

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Read more space stories here.

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