The National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has approved a mission to explore 16 Psyche, an iron-rich asteroid.
As part of the mission, NASA craft will be launched in 2023, and will arrive at Psyche in 2030. The mineral contents on the asteroids are worth over 100-thousand times the value of the entire world economy.
- Psyche asteroid has diameter in excess of 125 miles and is almost entirely composed of iron and nickel.
- Scientists believe Psyche to be a protoplanet i.e. its entire body consisting of what one day could be the core of a new planet.
- The spacecraft will be running tests on 16 Psyche to learn more about the history and composition of the celestial body.
- The information gathered will undoubtedly useful to astronomers to learn more about the formation and early life of planets.
- The study of Psyche may also reveal more information about the centre of our planet, which cannot be studied directly due to the virtual impossibility of sending a probe deep underground.
- Astronomers also believe Psyche to contain water, making it a possible candidate for a stellar fuel station, as water can be used to sustain life and synthesize rocket fuel.