NASA has planned a robotic mission to investigate “16 Psyche”, a 200-km-wide asteroid situated in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. The robotic mission to be launched in 2023 will reach 16 Psyche in 2030.
Psyche 16 contains large amounts of nickel and iron, and smaller quantities of copper, gold, iridium, platinum, rhenium and cobalt. Researchers estimate that its iron content is worth some $10,000 quadrillion. But NASA hasn’t yet planned to mine those metals.
They immediately aim to study, observe, and gather data from this mysterious space object. This research is believed to confirm the theory that 16 Psyche is a protoplanet or the remnant of a former rocky planet.
This study is expected to deepen our understanding of the planet formation process. Study lead, Lindy Elkins-Tanton, said “16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core. We learn about inner space by visiting outer space.”
New research indicates that this asteroid could contain water. So, a speculation that human astronauts could use it as a “resource stopover” during future space missions has risen.