The Hubble Space Telescope has completed its cycle of observations of the asteroid 16 Psyche, collecting the data necessary to organize a flight to this object. NASA announced such plans back in 2017, and now it is reported that the research probe will be launched in 2022. He will reach Psyche in 2026 and spend 21 months in orbit observing and studying this outstanding asteroid, which has a combined potential value of an astronomical $ 10 quintillion.
The honor of discovering Psyche belongs to the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis (1852). The new object became the 16th discovered asteroid in history, which is reflected in its name. Psyche is enormous, its size surpasses such a metropolis as Moscow. The most interesting thing is that it mostly consists of nickel and iron, which is why it has such a density and mass, and occupies an impressive 1% of the entire mass of the Asteroid Belt.
Because of its weight, Psyche has a gravitational effect on small asteroids, it literally dominates this corner of space. Scientists believe that before us is the core of an ancient protoplanet, which either did not have time to form entirely, or was destroyed by some kind of cataclysm. The research apparatus must collect data that will shed light on this problem. And at the same time, conclusions will be drawn about the prospects for the extraction of metal on an asteroid, the reserves of which are estimated at the current rate not even in trillions, but in quintillions dollars.