Asteroid 16 Psyche, discovered by Italian Anibal de Gasparis in 1852, is full of precious metals that can be worth up to 10 quadrillion dollars (about 50 quadrillion Brazilian reals), according to a heat map obtained by an American university. NASA wants to send a mission until 2026 to study celestial bodies.
According to the Daily Mail, the 16 Psyche is about 226 kilometers long and orbits the Sun in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. It is estimated that it was a piece of a planet that destroyed itself when the solar system formed.
To get an idea of the magnitude of the value, if 50 quadrillion R$ was divided among all the inhabitants of the earth, all the individuals would become millionaires.
To help with the mission, scientists at Caltech in Pasadena (USA) have prepared a surface temperature map of the meteorite, which should help provide information about its structural properties, as published in the journal Planetary Science.
In addition to the university, the study included the Atacama Large Millimeter/submillimeter Array Observatory in Chile, which provided a resolution of 50 pixels – unlike most studies, which generate images of only 1 pixel of imaging quality.
With this, scientists came to the conclusion that Psyche has a surface consisting of 30% metallic with rocks dotted with mineral grains, probably composed of iron and nickel.
“The discoveries are a step towards solving the mystery of the origin of this unusual object, which some consider to be part of the core of a protoplanet [fase inicial de um planeta] Inauspicious,” one of the study authors told the Daily Mail.
In short, the investment in the initial study will serve NASA to launch the mission five years from now to get more answers about Psyche’s minerals.
“Initially, the solar system was a violent place, where planetary bodies merging and colliding with each other while settling into orbits around the sun. If true, this gives us a real opportunity to study the cores of the bodies as planets,” explains researcher Catherine de Clare, from Caltech.
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