THE NEW SPACE RACE: This Rare Asteroid May Be Worth 70,000 Times the Global Economy. Now NASA Is Sending a Spaceship to Explore It.
The space agency decided back in 2017 that humankind would benefit from a closer look at 16 Psyche. The Psyche mission was initially slated to take place at the end of 2022 but was delayed due to “development problems.” NASA is now planning to launch the Psyche spacecraft this October. The vessel should reach the ultra-valuable asteroid in August 2029.
The metal-rich asteroid is about the size of Massachusetts and shaped somewhat like a potato, according to astronomers. Its average diameter is about 140 miles—or roughly the distance between Los Angeles and San Diego. The asteroid orbits between Mars and Jupiter at a distance ranging from 235 million to 309 million miles from the Sun.
A study published by The Planetary Science Journal in 2020 suggests that Psyche is made almost entirely of iron and nickel.
If Psyche turns out to be as metals-rich as we think, it might not be too outlandish to say that whoever controls Psyche will control the solar system.