NASA has set the date for a trip to an asteroid that can be worth the effort “quadrillions” of dollars.
The Discovery Mission will start in the summer of 2022, with a scheduled arrival at the main asteroid belt where the space rock, is expected in 2026, four years earlier than the agency of the original plans.
The asteroid called 16 Psyche, is a huge hunk of precious metals such as platinum and gold and iron and nickel.
It was in orbit around the sun between Mars and Jupiter and is of great scientific interest because it holds clues to the earliest epochs in the history of our solar system — less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun.
But now grabbed the attention of money-hungry entrepreneurs and investors, thanks to the stratospheric price tag.
With a value of $10,000 trillion, according to Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the scientist and the NASA mission, it is certainly worth more than its weight in gold.
But the return of an asteroid of this value can completely wipe out our global economy.
Fortunately, the space agency is taking the trip for scientific purposes only, and is not planning on performing the mining — not yet.
It weighs 16 Psyche is a survivor of violent hit-and-run collisions between planets that were common when the solar system was formed.
That means that it could tell us how the Earth’s core and the cores of the other terrestrial planets were formed.
“We challenged the mission of the design team to explore if an earlier start date can provide a more efficient trajectory to the asteroid Psyche, and they came in a big way,” says Jim Green, director of the Planetary Science Division at NASA headquarters in Washington.
“This will enable us to meet our science objectives faster and at a lower cost.”
Two space mining companies — backed by big-name celebs are gearing up for a gold rush after asteroid ownership was legal in 2015.
Deep Space Industries and Planetary Resources have their eyes on the 2011 UW158 asteroid, which is twice the size of the Tower of London, and with a value of up to $5 trillion.