Hubble Telescope Provides Crystal Clear images of the Rarest Metallic Asteroid Worth $10,000,000,000,000,000,000

Researchers and observers estimate that there is a highly valuable metallic asteroid hidden between Mars and Jupiter that is worth more than the entire world economy. According to the project commander at Arizona State University, the space object is valued at an estimated $10,000 quadrillion. Researchers were able to examine it more closely recently thanks to the Hubble Space Telescope, CBS reported.

The asteroid "16 Psyche," one of the largest objects in the solar system's main asteroid belt, is the subject of a recent study that was published in The Planetary Science Journal. 16 Psyche travels approximately 230 million kilometers from Earth to orbit between Mars and Jupiter. It is roughly the size of Massachusetts, with a diameter of 140 miles.

Asteroids are typically composed of ice or rocks. But what distinguishes 16 Psyche from other planets is that most of its metal is thought to have come from the remnant core of a planet known as a "protoplanet," which never managed to form.

The study represents the metallic asteroid's first ultraviolet (UV) measurements. Scientists believe that iron and nickel, which are present in the solid centers of planets, may make up the entirety of the asteroid based on new findings.

Lead author Dr. Tracy Becker said in a statement that "we've seen meteorites that are mostly made of metal, but Psyche could be unique in that it might be an asteroid that is totally made of iron and nickel." "Earth has a crust, a mantle, and a metal core. It's likely that a protoplanet called Psyche lost its crust and mantle when it collided with another object in our solar system during its formation.

In order to observe the entirety of both sides at UV wavelengths, astronomers examined the asteroid at two significant periods of its revolution. They found that iron may make up the majority of the surface, but they cautioned that even a tiny bit of iron would completely overshadow UV research.

According to Becker, "we were able to identify what we believe to be iron oxide ultraviolet absorption bands for the first time on any asteroid." "This suggests that the asteroid is oxidizing, possibly as a result of solar wind impacting its surface."

The movement of charged particles across the solar system from the sun's upper atmosphere, known as the corona, is known as solar wind. It is the cause of aurora formations, comet tails as they streak across the sky, and perhaps even Psyche's "space weathering."

To be certain of the asteroid's features, researchers stated more research is necessary.

Becker stated, "We need to investigate this further." This might be a sign of it having spent so much time exposed in space. A common explanation for this kind of UV brightening is space weathering.

Because metal asteroids are so uncommon, Psyche offers scientists a remarkable chance to explore a planet's interior. NASA talked about launching the unmanned spacecraft Psyche on a SpaceX Falcon Heavy rocket in 2022 in order to learn more about the asteroid. This is an attempt to support its history as well as that of related items. This important experiment also represents the first review of a metallic asteroid.

In January 2026, the orbiter is scheduled to touch down on the asteroid and conduct a nearly two-year study of it.

Reference: The Planetary Science Journal and CBS.

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