A rare asteroid that is made mostly of metal has been investigated, and it is estimated to be worth about $10,000,000,000,000,000,000 (£7,688,500,000,000,000,000).

If it’s too early for you to count those zeros, there are 19 of them – about $10,000 quadrillion.

Most asteroids are made up of ice and rock but the 16 Psyche asteroid is made up of 27 quadrillion 2 hundred trillion tonnes of iron and nickel, and the asteroid could also contain gold.

Although they’ve been aware of it for a while, we’ve been able to get a closer look at the object, which is currently orbiting through space just between Mars and Jupiter – over 370 million kilometres from us. And now NASA are planning to take a trip to it.

Credit: Arizona State University
Credit: Arizona State University

The first ultraviolet views of 16 Psyche have been released by The Planetary Science Journal, showing it to be one of the largest objects in the solar system’s asteroid belt.

A new study in The Planetary Science Journal this week marks the first ultraviolet observations of 16 Psyche, which is one of the largest objects in the solar system’s main asteroid belt.

“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,” lead author Dr. Tracy Becker said in a statement.

“Earth has a metal core, a mantle and crust. It’s possible that as a Psyche protoplanet was forming, it was struck by another object in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust.”

To have an even closer look, NASA is sending up a spacecraft to the asteroid as it could give some insight into planetary cores – the very basis of a planet.

Credit: NASA
Credit: NASA

Becker added: “What makes Psyche and the other asteroids so interesting is that they’re considered to be the building blocks of the solar system.

“To understand what really makes up a planet and to potentially see the inside of a planet is fascinating.

“Once we get to Psyche, we’re really going to understand if that’s the case, even if it doesn’t turn out as we expect. Any time there’s a surprise, it’s always exciting.”

For those of you thinking we’ll all be billionaires if NASA could somehow bring the asteroid back to Earth – let’s be realistic. The value of money is relative to what we already have. So even if it was pure gold and we brought it all back – gold would just be worth less.

NASA says this study is purely for the advancement of science and that it’s not going to be mining or trying to make any money from the asteroid. Missing a trick there, guys.

Featured Image Credit: NASA

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