This is why an asteroid being captured by NASA is worth $100,000 quintillion

  • NASA blasted off on a mission to an asteroid dubbed 16 Psyche
  • It is worth a mind-boggling $10,000,000,000,000,000,000
  • The asteroid is believed to contain metals, including iron and nickel

Published on Jul 08, 2024 at 8:55 AM (UTC+4)
by Claire Reid

Last updated on Jul 08, 2024 at 8:33 PM (UTC+4)
Edited by Kate Bain

NASA is attempting to capture an asteroid that is worth an unfathomable $10,000,000,000,000,000,000 – and it’s all because of what it is made of. 

In case you missed it, last year the US space agency announced that it would be blasting off the asteroid – which has been named 16 Psyche.

Super-sized 16 Psyche, which measures around 165,800 square kilometers (64,000 square miles) is believed to contain metals including gold, iron, and nickel.

READ MORE! NASA finally opens up $1,000,000,000 asteroid

NASA has called the asteroid ‘intriguing’

“One of the most intriguing objects in the main asteroid belt, Psyche is a giant metal-rich asteroid, about three times farther away from the Sun than is Earth,” NASA said.

Researchers are hopeful that the mission to 16 Psyche will help provide information on planetary cores and how planets form. 

“I am excited to see the treasure trove of science Psyche will unlock as NASA’s first mission to a metal world,” said Nicola Fox, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at NASA.  

“By studying Psyche, we hope to better understand our universe and our place in it, especially regarding the mysterious and impossible-to-reach metal core of our own home planet, Earth.”

What makes it so valuable?

While the asteroid is sure to provide some valuable information to scientists, it’s likely to be less valuable than the estimated $100,000 quadrillion it is worth. An amount that is many many times more than the entire economy here on Earth.

Psyche’s somewhat mind-boggling valuation is based on the belief that it could contain large amounts of numerous pricey metals, including platinum and palladium, which are essential when making cars and electronics. 

NASA believes it could be as much as 30 to 60 percent metal, which adds up to a lot of metal and, therefore, a lot of money. 

NASA launched its Psyche spacecraft in October 2023 and, all being well, will drop into its first of 26 months of planned orbits around 16 Psyche in August 2029.

“Congratulations to the Psyche team on a successful launch, the first journey to a metal-rich asteroid,” said NASA Administrator Bill Nelson in October last year.

“The Psyche mission could provide humanity with new information about planet formation while testing technology that can be used on future NASA missions.”

Oh and if the thought of a giant asteroid hurtling through space gives you the heebie-jeebies, then you may be keen to learn how NASA would alert the public in the event of an impending asteroid strike. Good to know. 

# Tags - NASA, Space


Claire Reid

Claire Reid is a journalist who hails from the UK but is now living in New Zealand. She began her career after graduating with a degree in Journalism from Liverpool John Moore’s University and has more than a decade of experience, writing for both local newspapers and national news sites. Across her career she's covered a wide variety of topics, including celebrity, cryptocurrency, politics, true crime and just about everything in between.