The chase for 16 Psyche, asteroid that is costlier than Earth

It's estimated 16 Psyche contains 24 million-trillion tonnes of metal - that's 24 followed by 15 zeros. This has a notional value of something like $10,000 followed by 15 zeros

spacecraft, asteroid 16 Psyche
An illustration of the spacecraft and the asteroid 16 Psyche, which is thought to be a stripped planetary core | Photo: Nasa

In 2008, Peter Diamandis, chairman of the XPrize Foundation, which rewards the development of futuristic technologies, predicted the first trillionaire would come from the asteroid-mining industry. The technology for this is still some indefinable distance in the future. But the incentives have grown.  Asteroids are small rocky bodies, orbiting the sun. The vast majority are in the so-called Asteroid Belt, between Mars and Jupiter. But these rocks also wander around elsewhere, leading to occasional scares about one hitting Earth and triggering another mass ...