In the asteroid belt located between orbitsMars and Jupiter, there is a unique object, the study and development of which can provide invaluable assistance in the colonization of distant planets. Asteroid Psyche 16, whose mass is 1% of the mass of the entire asteroid belt, is being studied in detail using the NASA Hubble Space Telescope. Based on the data obtained, the American space agency plans to launch a research probe to Psyche 16 in 2022.
The first statement about the possible study of a uniquean asteroid, the cost of resources on which is over 10 quintillion dollars, was announced by NASA representatives back in 2017. After receiving additional data, the Americans have now officially announced that the probe will launch in 2022, reach Psyche 16 in 2026 and explore it for 21 months. The project is planned to use the Falcon Heavy rocket from SpaceX.
An astronomer discovered the asteroid in 1852from Italy Annibale de Gasparis. It was the sixteenth asteroid discovered at that time by earthlings, which explains the appearance of the name Psyche 16. Conducting modern studies in the UV spectrum made it possible to determine the mass and approximate composition of the asteroid, in which gold, nickel and iron are widely represented. The total value of the reserves is thousands of times the value of the entire modern earth's economy ($ 75 trillion). The asteroid has the shape of an ellipsoid with dimensions of 214 × 181 × 145 km.
Psyche 16's makeup suggests thatthe asteroid Psyche 16 is the core of an ancient protoplanet, destroyed millions or billions of years ago. Exploration of the asteroid will bring not only an economic effect, but will bring closer to solving the mystery of the formation of our solar system.