CNET released a tweet that went viral this weekend about the asteroid Psyche. Psyche is an asteroid about 300 million miles from Earth currently and 200 million miles from Earth at its closet orbit.
In fact, NASA is sending a probe there in 2022 to explore the composition of Psyche to see what that can tell us about planetary formation. Psyche is interesting to NASA because it has so much exposed nickel on its surface.
Although Psyche is not an exceptionally large asteroid at a diameter of only a couple of hundred miles (smaller than the average at 300 miles) across, it is exceptionally dense. So dense, in fact, that its gravity disturbs asteroids in its orbit.
Psyche is also insanely valuable. It has so much gold, platinum and iron that it is actually worth vastly more than all of the wealth on earth, many billion times more. The estimation is that it would be worth $700 quintillion. That’s thousands of quadrillions of trillions of billions of millions of dollars.
CNET did a great visual:
People talk about mining asteroids all the time and there are commercial efforts exploring those options. It will probably not work well for Psyche because of the density of the material and the distance. There are much closer asteroids, but certainly less valuable.