A new study by the Hubble Space Telescope has revealed a clearer picture than ever before of one of the most intriguing and most valuable asteroids we know of.
It’s also one that NASA is planning to visit in 2026.
Here’s everything you need to know about “16 Psyche.”What and where is ‘16 Psyche?’
About 230 million miles/370 million kilometers from Earth, Psyche—as it’s commonly known—is one of the most massive objects in the Solar System’s main asteroid belt orbiting between Mars and Jupiter.
It’s about 140 miles/226 kilometers-wide and—unlike most asteroids, which are rocky or icy—Psyche appears to be metallic.
In fact, it’s so dense and metallic that Psyche is thought to be the leftover core of a planet that failed during its formation—a “protoplanet.”What is ‘16 Psyche’ made of?
“We’ve seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel,” said Dr. Tracy Becker, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute in in San Antonio, Texas, and author of the new paper published in the Planetary Science Journal this week.
Iron and nickel are often found in metallic meteorites and in the dense metal cores of planets. “Earth has a metal core, a mantle and crust,” said Becker.
Psyche is truly a one-of-a-kind object in the Solar System.How much is ‘16 Psyche’ worth?
Some think that the metals that comprise Psyche could make be worth about $10,000 quadrillion. The global economy was worth about $142 trillion in 2019.What happened to ‘16 Psyche?’
“It’s possible that as a Psyche protoplanet was forming, it was struck by an-other object in ...