NASA has announced plans to launch an exploration of 16 Psyche, an enormous metal asteroid, by August of 2022. Scientists are eager to discover its unique composition and history, but the economic potential of the asteroid has garnered significantly more attention.
16 Psyche is replete with precious metals and is worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion (£8,000 quadrillion). Theoretically, a harvest of 16 Psyche could make everyone on earth a billionaire–though doing so would simultaneously destroy the world economy.
In spite of this, some are still interested in the market potential of asteroids, such The Asteroid Mining Company founder Mitch Hunter-Scullion. The 22-year-old business owner predicts that asteroid mining will be “the next boom industry”, leading to endless possibilities and financial success.
However, NASA’s excitement over the asteroid lies in its uniqueness. According to their site, “The Psyche mission will be the first mission to investigate a world of metal rather than of rock and ice…because scientists cannot see or measure Earth’s core directly, Psyche offers a unique window into the violent history of collisions and accretion that created terrestrial planets.”
The mission is expected to arrive at 16 Psyche in early 2026, so fingers crossed that Hunter-Scullion can figure out how to make asteroid mining a viable option in the meantime.