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NASA issues update on status of mission to capture asteroid worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000

NASA issues update on status of mission to capture asteroid worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000

The metal-rich asteroid contains iron, nickel and gold ores and could mean a future revenue of asteroid mining.

NASA is en-route to capture an asteroid worth an astronomical amount.

Last year, the space agency announced its mission to visit the distant asteroid named 16 Psyche, believed to contain precious metals such as gold, iron, and nickel.

Altogether, estimates have valued 16 Psyche's ore at a massive $10 quintillion.

'Teams of engineers and technicians are working almost around the clock to ensure the orbiter is ready to journey 2.5 billion miles to a metal-rich asteroid that may tell us more about planetary cores and how planets form,' NASA said back in July 2023.


The spacecraft was then launched from NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral, Florida, on October 13, 2023.

The vessel has been travelling a journey of 2.2 billion miles (3.5 billion km) at approximately 84,000mph through space and is expected to reach the asteroid in August 2029.

'For the next year, the spacecraft will be in what mission planners call 'full cruise' mode, when its electric thrusters take over and propel the orbiter toward the asteroid belt,' NASA explained.

'The thrusters work by expelling charged atoms, or ions, of xenon, emitting a brilliant blue glow that trails behind the spacecraft.'

As the ions are expelled, they will create a thrust that over time will allow the spacecraft to accelerate to up to 124,000mph.

Upon reaching the metal-rich asteroid, the spacecraft will spend two years orbiting it, gathering valuable data.

The spacecraft is then programmed to approach Mars in May 2026 for a gravity assist intended to boost its momentum.


This will set the spacecraft straight for its final destination, with the mission concluding in November 2031.

NASA reports that the asteroid measures 173 miles (280 km) across and 144 miles (232 km) long, with a surface area of 64,000 square miles (165,800 square km).

The asteroid's massive size is a key reason for NASA's interest in this mission. Nicola Fox, associate administrator for NASA's science mission directorate, explained: 'Psyche is by far the largest, and that's why we want to go to it.

'Because the smaller ones are more likely to have been changed by things impacting them, whereas the big one, we think, is going to be completely unchanged.'

This significant finding may cause an onset of future commercial asteroid mining as a type of future revenue.