Hubble telescope gives closer look at rare asteroid worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000 - CBS News
Oct 28, 2020 1 min, 19 secs

A new study this week in The Planetary Science Journal delves deeper than ever before into the mysteries of the asteroid 16 Psyche, one of the most massive objects in the solar system's main asteroid belt orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, about 230 million miles from Earth.

New data reveals the asteroid may be made entirely of iron and nickel — found in the dense cores of planets.

"We've seen meteorites that are mostly metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel," lead author Dr.

It's possible that as a Psyche protoplanet was forming, it was struck by another object in our solar system and lost its mantle and crust.".

"We were able to identify for the first time on any asteroid what we think are iron oxide ultraviolet absorption bands," Becker said.

"This is something that we need to study further," Becker said

In 2022, NASA plans to launch the unmanned spacecraft Psyche on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket to study the asteroid in an attempt to understand its history and that of similar objects — the first time a mission will visit a body made entirely of metal. 

"What makes Psyche and the other asteroids so interesting is that they're considered to be the building blocks of the solar system," Becker said

"We're going to learn about planetary formation, but we are not going to be trying to bring any of this material back and using it for industry," Carol Polanskey, project scientist for the Psyche mission, said at the time. 


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