Golden Asteroid Worth More Than Earth’s Entire Economy Is Being Visited By NASA

NASA is sending a spacecraft to a golden asteroid that might be a rogue planetary core.

By Charlene Badasie | Published

asteroids, earth

NASA is planning a mission to explore a golden asteroid called 16 Psyche that is believed to be worth more than the entire global economy. The asteroid, which is valued at $10,000 quadrillion, is a heavy-metal object that could contain a core of iron, nickel, and gold. The mission was initially slated for August 2022 but was delayed due to institutional issues at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Now that the problems are resolved, the 280 million-mile voyage to the golden asteroid is expected to launch between October 5 and 25 from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. “The independent review board is extraordinarily impressed by the accomplishments of the total JPL organization and Caltech,” a report from JPL said via CHRON.

The report added that “Engagement in and leadership of the overall response process by the JPL director and senior leadership is deemed world class.” Psyche, named after the Greek Goddess of the soul, was discovered in 1852 by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis. The golden asteroid orbits the sun in the region between Mars and Jupiter.

Astronomers say the golden asteroid’s shape resembles that of a potato and is approximately 140 miles wide. Scientists believe that Psyche might be the exposed metallic core of a “planetesimal or a nascent planet” that underwent violent collisions, shedding its rocky outer layers during the early stages of our solar system’s formation.


NASA’s upcoming mission would mark a significant milestone as it would be the first-ever exploration of a celestial body rich in metallic elements. Anticipated to arrive at the golden asteroid in August 2029, the spacecraft will orbit around the golden asteroid for 26 months. The study of 16 Psyche holds great significance as it may provide insights into planetary formation processes.

Additionally, 16 Psyche presents a unique chance to study an exposed planetary core up close. If the golden asteroid’s origins align with current theories, analyzing it could provide valuable information about the composition and characteristics of planetary cores. The mission’s objectives include examining other geological aspects, such as its magnetic field and mass distribution.

Furthermore, the data collected from the mission will contribute to a better understanding of the solar system’s formation and the role asteroids play within it. Interestingly, the golden asteroid is not the only valuable rock in space. NASA previously said the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter contains an abundance of minerals, with an estimated value of $100 billion for each person on Earth.

However, the real challenge lies in the extraction of these precious metals from each asteroid and safely transporting them back to our planet. The golden asteroid’s abundance of precious metals makes it an enticing target for potential mining operations, further emphasizing its significance in terms of economic and resource exploration.

Meanwhile, NASA says the total mission costs for visiting the golden asteroid are $985 million. A sum of $717 million has already been spent on the project as of July 2022. The mission team is currently carrying out the final stages of spacecraft flight software testing, ensuring its readiness for the scheduled launch in October.