Teaming up with researchers at Arizona State University, NASA is planning a mission to the ancient, metal asteroid 16 Psyche, reported Global News.
Composed primarily of iron and nickel, Psyche is believed to be made of other rare metals as well, such as rhenium, copper, gold and platinum.
Lead scientist for the NASA mission and director of the School of Earth and Space Exploration at ASU Lindy Elkins-Tanton has estimated that merely the iron itself is worth $10,000 quadrillion. The mission does not include bringing the 200-kilometer-wide asteroid back to earth, as there is no way to do so, Elkins-Tanton told Global News.
Set to launch in 2023, this robotic mission will instead be observing and reporting on Psyche, which is considered "one of the most intriguing targets in the main asteroid belt," according to a press release from NASA.
It will take seven years for the spacecraft to reach the asteroid.
"This is an opportunity to explore a new type of world - not one of rock or ice, but of metal," said Elkins-Tanton. "16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core. We learn about inner space by visiting outer space."