A mysterious asteroid detected by scientists using the Hubble Telescope could have an estimated value of $10,000 quadrillion, CNN reported.Named Asteroid 16 Psyche and located in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, the massive asteroid has a diameter approximately 140 miles long, making it one of the largest objects in the belt. But while its composition is unclear, it’s hypothesized that it’s mostly iron and nickle. Due to its size and composition, the asteroid has an approximate value of $10,000 quadrillion, making it worth more than the entire global economy, according to the study published in the academic periodical The Planetary Science Journal.This composition was deduced after the researchers used ultraviolet light to observe Psyche.”We looked at the way that the ultraviolet light reflected off of the asteroid surface,” lead author Tracy Becker, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute, told CNN.”The way the ultraviolet light was reflected from Psyche was very, very similar to the way iron reflects sunlight,” she explained.The researchers behind the study suspect the asteroid could have been an early planet’s core, before collisions reduced its crust and mantel during the solar system’s formation.If true, further research on the asteroid is highly important, as it could further understanding of the Earth’s core, which is impossible to explore.These findings come as NASA, led by scientists from Arizona State University, prepares a mission to launch an unmanned spacecraft to the asteroid in August 2022 using a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket, CNN reported.According to the mission’s principal investigator Lindy Elkins-Tanton, who is also an author of the study and the one who came up with the value of $10,000 quadrillion, the unmanned spacecraft should reach the asteroid by January 2026, where it will study and map it from orbit over the course of 21 months.”Everyone in the world is going to be able to look at Psyche at the same time we are, and scratch their heads and say, what is this thing?” she told CNN.Despite its immense value, Elkins-Tanton was quick to dash any hopes of bringing back anything from the asteroid.”We cannot bring Psyche back to Earth. We have absolutely no technology to do that,” she told CNN, adding that even if it were possible to bring it back, it would literally destroy the Earth and figuratively destroy the market. However, it could be the next step towards eventually launching mining missions on asteroids and other near-Earth objects.
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