It would collapse the global economy if we brought it home.
It might have just pushed back its manned mission to Mars, but NASA just fast-tracked a planned journey to 16 Psyche – an asteroid made almost entirely of nickel-iron metal.
Estimated to contain $10,000 quadrillion in iron alone, if we could somehow mine Psyche’s minerals and bring them back to Earth, it would collapse our comparatively puny global economy of $78 trillion many times over. Fortunately for the economic stability of our planet, NASA plans on looking but not extracting.
“It’s such a strange object,” Lindy Elkins-Tanton, lead scientist on the NASA mission and the director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, told Global News Canada back in January. “Even if we could grab a big metal piece and drag it back here … what would you do?” she adds.
“Could you kind of sit on it and hide it and control the global resource – kind of like diamonds are controlled corporately – and protect your market? What if you decided you were going to bring it back and you were just going to solve the metal resource problems of humankind for all time? This is wild speculation, obviously.”
Named after Psyche, a human figure in Greek mythology who earned immortality, 16 Psyche is one of the most massive asteroids that have been discovered in the asteroid belt so far – a dusty disc located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
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