Humans now have yet another excuse to go to space.
A small asteroid the size of Massachusetts orbits between Mars and Jupiter and is believed to be worth $10,000 quadrillion.
The rare object, identified as 16 Psyche, was discovered in 1852, but NASA’s Hubble Telescope has now provided a closer look. The recent research, published this week in The Planetary Science Journal, suggests that the structure of an asteroid is crucial to its astronomical importance.
To bring this lauded number into context, when written out in its totality, it boasts a line of zeros that could almost extend to the asteroid itself. This equates to $10,000,000,000,000,000,000. This makes Psyche 70,000 times more valuable than the world economy, which is estimated to be worth $142 trillion in 2019, or enough to purchase and sell Jeff Bezos, whose net worth is just shy of $200 billion, 50 million times. That’s all because of the heavy metal.
Psyche, which has a diameter of 140 miles, seems to be composed entirely of iron and nickel. This metallic structure distinguishes it from other asteroids, which are usually made of rock or ice.
“We’ve seen meteorites that are all metal, but Psyche may be interesting in that it could be an asteroid that is mostly composed of iron and nickel,” said Dr. Tracy Becker, a planetary scientist, and the paper’s lead author, in a statement.
So, how did the astronomically priced asteroid come to be? According to Becker, Psyche may be the residual nucleus of a planet that is never properly formed due to collisions with particles in our solar system, causing it to lose its mantle and crust.
The asteroid is approximately about 230 million miles from Earth, orbiting between Mars and Jupiter in the Solar System’s largest asteroid belt. And, quite surprisingly, NASA plans to extend. The administration intends to launch the Psyche spacecraft in 2022 to further investigate the asteroid.
If they could only return the asteroid, every human on the planet—all 7.5 billion of us—would receive approximately $1.3 billion.