May 26, 2017 08:05 AM EDT
Asteroids come in different sizes and shapes. Some are small but some are bigger than the largest cities on Earth that if they land here, it will create utter destruction on Earth. There's also one huge asteroid that NASA is studying, an asteroid that can collapse the world economy.
16 Psyche is an asteroid that can be found in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Planetary scientists have taken great interest on this one not just because of its size because of its uniqueness - it is the only known asteroid that's made of metal, specifically of nickel-iron metal. Because of that, NASA is sending a probe to the huge metallic rock by 2022 as part of their Discovery Program.
How does it connect with the world economy?
The nickel-iron metal rock is 200 kilometers in diameter and scientists estimate that the iron alone that will be extracted from 16 Psyche will be worth $10,000 quadrillion, an amount that is many times over the total economy of the whole world brought together. Thus, if scientists are able to mine the metallic rock and bring them to earth, that would collapse the $78 trillion global economy at present. Fortunately, NASA only plans on examining 16 Psyche, not mining it.
Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist who proposed the mission and director of Arizona State University's School of Earth and Space Exploration, told Global News Canada in January that even if it's possible to grab that giant chunk of metal, it is impossible to control the global resource and protect the market.
Aside from nickel and iron, NASA thinks that 16 Psyche's surface can also have water or hydroxyl based on what they saw using the Infrared Telescope. The 2022 probe will answer all those speculations and hopefully, it will also reveal clues what our Solar system looked like in its early days.
© 2017 University Herald, All rights reserved. Do not reproduce without permission.