“Goldmine”? An asteroid is worth more than Earth’s fortune

A new study clarified the unknowns that still remained to be resolved about “Psyche”, he asteroid massive orbiting between the planets of Mars Y Jupiter. Ultraviolet observations showed that this roco body, unique in its kind, is made up of iron and nickel, unlike others made of metal.

The research, led by scientist Tracy Becker, analyzed from different views, that this high-density asteroid, identified with the number “16”. The scientists considered that this star comes from the core left over from the bad formation of some planet.

The especialista del Southwest Research Institute discovered that this asteroid is composed of other properties: “We have seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique, in the sense that it could be an asteroid entirely made of iron and nickel”, elements of greater value.

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Given this finding, economists have valued the asteroid by 700 quadrillion dollars, a figure that exceeds the world economy, estimated at 75.5 billion dollars. This would mean that if the space object were exploited by humanity, and distributed to all its inhabitants, just a fragment of Psyche would be worth at least a trillion dollars.

Scientists don’t care about its monetary value, instead marveling at its vast expansion, as it is 140 miles in diameter along its length, making it one of the most massive objects in the belt to which they belong.

The study, published in “The Planetary Science Journal”, was made possible by the asteroid observation from two specific points, based on its rotation to fully understand all its parts and thus delimit the surface in ultraviolet (UV) wavelengths.

“We were able to identify for the first time in any asteroid what we think are iron oxide ultraviolet absorption bands,” Becker said, which means that it is “an indication that oxidation is occurring in the asteroid, a possible result of the solar wind hits the surface. ”

This project was produced in line with the preparations of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA), regarding the launch, scheduled for 2022, of the spaceship “Pysche”, which will travel to the asteroid as part of an effort to understand the origin of planetary cores, as astronomers opined that the asteroid could offer a unique opportunity to see the interior of a planet.

Also read: UNAM astronomer, internationally recognized for studying an asteroid that could impact in 2060

“What makes Psyche and the other asteroids so interesting is that they are considered basic components of the solar system,” the scientist deepened.

Among other findings, Becker detected that the surface of the asteroid could be mainly iron, which would facilitate the UV observations no matter how small the amounts of this compound were.

“This is something we need to study further, it could be indicative that it has been exposed in space for so long. This type of ultraviolet glow is often attributed to space weathering,” he determined.



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