For several years, humans have wondered and speculated about the vast quantities of precious metals that are lying unmined in space. According to scientists, there may be billions of dollars worth of precious substances such as gold, platinum, diamond buried deep in asteroids, and pieces of space debris. And now, humans seem to be getting a step closer to mining some of those riches.
NASA's latest mission called Psyche which has been created to study a metal-rock asteroid called '16 Psyche' recently passed its "critical design" phase.
The 226-kilometre wide asteroid is situated in the solar system's asteroid bed between Mars and Jupiter. Why is this particular asteroid of interest to scientists? The asteroid could contain potential riches that can beat the total cost of the entire world's global economy.
According to experts, the asteroid is made up entirely of nickel and metallic iron with a solid gold core. The estimated value of the asteroid can be close to $10,000 quadrillion. That's enough to make every person on Earth a millionaire.
NASA, however, stated that the new device is intended to study '16 Psyche' to find out more about Earth's formation.
"Since we can't examine Earth's core up-close, exploring the asteroid Psyche (about 140 miles, or 226 kilometers, wide) could give valuable insight into how our own planet and others formed," NASA had previously said in July.
To achieve the same, the space agency has designed the 'Psyche' spacecraft, which will study the asteroid's magnetic field as well as capture images and data regarding the topography and composition of the asteroid.
As per previous reports, NASA had roped in Elon Musk's SpaceX to collaborate on the mission. If all goes well, the NASA/SpaceX mission may be ready to embark on its voyage to the asteroid by 2022.