After the 16 Psyche asteroid was first discovered in 1852, scientists gave it much closer attention almost two centuries later. The space rock rich in metals apparently gave you the opportunity to skip work for the rest of your life. As it was known to value about 10,000 quadrillion dollars, all you had to do is to somehow find a way to bring the asteroid’s metals to Earth in a safe way. It may sound difficult, but hey, everything has a beginning!
But not so fast! According to CNET, we might be forced to rethink the wild hypothesis. Even if humanity will once possess the technology to extract valuable materials from 16 Psyche, a new study from researchers at the University of Arizona claims that the asteroid may not be so metallic after all.
Only 82.5% metallic composition instead of 95%
While the first analysis of the 16 Psyche asteroid made researchers estimate that the space object has a metallic composition of 95%, the new study reduces that number to 82.5%. According to NASA, the asteroid could be the exposed nickel-iron core from an early planet.
David Cantillo, lead author of the new study, declared:
Psyche as a rubble pile would be very unexpected, but our data continues to show low-density estimates despite its high metallic content.
For the new estimations on the composition of the asteroid, the research team re-created the regolith by mixing different materials in a lab and analyzed patterns of light until they were in accordance with observations made by telescopes. The findings suggest that 16 Psyche could have collided with other asteroids that left a layer of deposits on the surface.
In the end, you know what they say that money doesn’t fall from the sky, and the new study on the 16 Psyche asteroid somehow proves it. The study’s new paper was published in The Planetary Science Journal.