The Wealth of the Universe: Gold in Space
Modern scientific theory states that gold, as a chemical element, was formed as a result of the destruction of neutron stars. During the explosion of a neutron star, the dust that contains a precious metal is emitted in the outer space, where it then becomes condensate and settles on asteroids.
Space researchers manage to make amazing gold-related discoveries. We tell interesting facts about the discovery of the yellow metal in our galaxy.
Quadrillion dollars for an asteroid
The giant asteroid 16 Psyche was discovered in 1852 by the Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis. This is one of the largest space objects of the asteroid belt — the region of the Solar System located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter.
16 Psyche is a fragment of the planet’s core, previously existed between the two celestial bodies. According to scientists, the asteroid is composed of 90% of rare metals. The diameter of 16 Psyche is 252 kilometers.
Its formation is the result of the fusion of several neutron stars, as a consequence of which a huge amount of gold was formed on the asteroid, ten times greater than the terrestrial reserves. Modern scientists have concluded that the amount of the precious metal in 16 Psyche is enough to satisfy the needs of all mankind.
This space object costs more than the entire economy of our planet, estimated at 78 trillion dollars. The asteroid contains precious metals, including gold, worth of up to 10 quadrillion dollars.
In the photo: a computer image of the asteroid 16 Psyche.
Gold Cosmic Fever
In 2014, a research team from the University of Arizona presented a project of the scientific mission to 16 Psyche. Scientists proposed to send a robotic probe to study the biochemical composition of the asteroid within the period of six months. In early 2017, the National Aeronautics and Space Administration approved this project.
With the help of this experiment, NASA employees want to learn more about the asteroid for possible mining of the precious metal. This is the first step of scientists in this direction and, perhaps, the beginning of a new era in gold mining. In 2016, the agency provided data according to which it is possible to develop and deliver minerals from asteroids to Earth. This is possible due to the existing technologies and will not require an industrial revolution to happen.
The National Aeronautics and Space Administration approved the terms of the scientific mission to the "precious" space object — the research machinery will head to 16 Psyche in 2022. The space probe will undertake a near-Earth gravitational maneuver, flying by Mars and arriving to the asteroid by 2026.
According to NASA, the space "gold rush" is expected to occur within the next 30 years.
The precious celestial body
In 2011, the scientists at the Haleakala Observatory in Hawaii, USA, discovered a large asteroid flying near the Earth, which allowed researchers to study it profoundly. The near-Earth object, named 2011 UW158, has a diameter of 300 meters and constitutes a rotating oblong asteroid.
According to preliminary estimates of specialists, this space object can contain precious metals worth of 300 billion to 5 trillion dollars.
Our galaxy is full of gold-bearing bodies. We just need to use the advanced space technologies that allow us to mine gold in space and deliver it to Earth.
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