NASA has reported that it has found an asteroid whose metal content is so valuable that it could crash world’s economy if fully exploited. The U.S. space agency is preparing a mission to the space rock that is projected to be worth £8,000 quadrillion.
The new mission dubbed Psyche will be launched in 2022. Its main goal is the asteroid called 16 Psyche which it should reach in 2026. The U.S.-based Planetary Resources, whose main sponsor is film director James Cameron, is already building robotic probes that can mine asteroids and seek rare resources in space.
Experts at the University of Stirling noted that especially the asteroids coming close to Earth or crossing our planet’s orbit could be the best mining targets and invaluable sources of minerals and metals that the Earth is running short.
The leader of NASA’s Psyche mission, Arizona State University’s Lindy Elkins-Tanton, estimated a few months ago that the asteroid would be worth a fortune if we found a method to capture it and drag it to our planet.
The Metal-Rich Asteroid Could Fall into the Wrong Hands
However, there are some risks involved too. Some greedy corporate leaders may decide that they could use the metal in the asteroid to control the global resource just like there is an oligopoly on Africa’s diamonds. Corporate greed in this context could easily destroy our world’s economy.
By contrast, other companies may decide to use the asteroid to solve humanity’s issues with resource scarcity once and for all. ‘This is wild speculation obviously,’ Elkins-Tanton said about the two scenarios.
The new mission is designed to explore and prospect 16 Psyche which is considered one of the most interesting bodies in the main asteroid belt. The 130-mile wide space rock is located 3 times farther from the sun than our planet.
Unlike other asteroids in the distant belt, 16 Psyche is overwhelmingly made of nickel and metallic iron, instead of rock and ice. The asteroid’s chemical make-up is very similar to our planet’s core.
Image Source: NASA
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