Highlights

American Space Agency, NASA has found that 16 Psyche large asteroid orbiting between Mars (Red Planet) and Jupiter is made of rare metals such as gold, platinum, cobalt, rhenium (75) and iridium (77). The total worth of the precious metals in the asteroid has been estimated as $10,000 Quadrillion more than earth economy by NASA scientists.

According to the NASA scientists, the Asteroid 16 Psyche might have been formed from the leftover of an earlier planet that lost its mantle and crust after getting collided multiple times during the creation of solar system. NASA and SpaceX jointly send an unmanned spacecraft in 2022 to study the asteroid.

Asteroid 16 Psyche

16 Psyche is located at around 370 million KM away from the planet earth. 16 Psyche is one of the most massive objects found in the asteroid belt of solar system. The diameter of the asteroid is 140 miles (225 KM) and is potato shaped. In 1853, 16 Psyche asteroid was first discovered by an Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis. The asteroid has been named after the Greek goddess Psyche.

Oxidation is constantly occurring at the surface of the 16 Psyche due to solar winds. Solar winds are stream of charged particles rom the hot outer atmosphere of the sun called Corona.

How is earth protected from Solar Winds?

Earth protects itself from the solar winds with its magnetic field. The magnetic field of the earth deflects most of the charged particles from the sun. However, some of the charged particles get trapped in the Van Allen Radiation belt ( zone of energetic charged particles). There are 2 such belts around the planet earth. They are located at an altitude of 640 to 58,000 kilometer. They are in the inner regions of the magnetosphere of the earth. These belts endanger satellite.

Importance

Metal Asteroids are not commonly found in our solar system. Therefore, studying Asteroid 16 Psyche will help understand the composition of inner layers of the planet.

Mission 16 Psyche

Mission 16 Psyche is a journey to a unique metal asteroid orbiting the sun between Jupiter and Mars. American Provate Space Agency and NASA Jointly planned to be launched by 2022. The unmanned spacecraft Mission will reach the 16 Psyche asteroid in January, 2026. The Mission Psyche will discover if the 16 Psyche asteroid is a core or an unmelted material. Also, it will characterize topography of 16 Psyche.

Annibale de Gasparis

Annibale de Gasparis discovered 9 asteroid such as

10 Hygiea12 April 1849
11 Parthenope11 May 1850
13 Egeria2 November 1850
15 Eunomia29 July 1851
16 Psyche17 March 1852
20 Massalia19 September 1852
24 Themis5 April 1853
63 Ausonia10 February 1861
83 Beatrix26 April 1865

He also honoured with Gold Medal of the Royal Astronomical Society in 1851. Annibale de Gasparis was also awarded the Lalande Prize from 1849 to 1853. On 20 January 1861 Gasparis was appointed Senator of the Kingdom of Italy for his high scientific merits. He Received the Order of the Red Eagle ( order of chivalry of the Kingdom of Prussia), and of the Order of the Rose (Brazilian order of chivalry).