Have you ever wondered what lies in space? More specifically, the vast and surplus quantities of unmanned precious metals worth billions that lie in space? NASA is building a spaceship called ‘Psyche’ whose mission will be to study an asteroid full of precious metals worth quadrillions. By Amitha Ameen

Dubbed ’16 Psyche’ — the 226-kilometre wide metal-rock asteroid could potentially be worth more than the entire world’s global economy. And, NASA has already begun to build a spacecraft called Psyche to investigate this asteroid; it has already cleared the ‘critical design’ phase, last month.

While we are excited about the possibilities of uncovering these riches, NASA has maintained that the new spaceship is dedicated to studying the asteroid to learn more about the Earth’s formation. “Since we can’t examine Earth’s core up-close, exploring the asteroid Psyche (about 140 miles, or 226 kilometres, wide) could give valuable insight into how our own planet and others have formed,” said NASA in a statement in July.

Situated in the solar system’s asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter, 16 Psyche asteroid is said to be made up entirely of nickel and metallic iron, mimicking the Earth’s core, and has a gold core; and, its estimated value can be around $10,000 quadrillion. Researchers claim that 16 Psyche’s core could be the remnants of a dead planet that may have suffered several collisions or lost its outer layers due to some reason.

NASA is collaborating with SpaceX to launch Psyche from Cape Canaveral Launch Pad 39A, with the help of SpaceX’s Falcon Heavy Rocket by August 2022. According to NASA’s plan, the rocket will cross Mars in 2023 and move in the direction of the asteroid by January 2026. “It’s one of the most intense reviews a mission goes through in its entire life cycle,” said Lindy Elkins-Tanton, principal investigator for the Psyche mission in an official statement.

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