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Telescope gives closer look at asteroid worth $10,000 quadrillion
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Telescope gives closer look at asteroid worth $10,000 quadrillion

16 Psyche is one of the most massive objects in the solar system's main asteroid belt — and it appears to be made entirely of metal worth approximately $10,000 quadrillion.

Science & Tech

There's an extremely rare metallic asteroid lurking between Mars and Jupiter, and it's worth more than the entire global economy. Now, the Hubble Space Telescope has given us a closer look at the object, which is worth an estimated $10,000 quadrillion.

A new study this week in The Planetary Science Journal delves deeper than ever before into the mysteries of the asteroid 16 Psyche, one of the most massive objects in the solar system's main asteroid belt orbiting between Mars and Jupiter, about 230 million miles from Earth. It measures about 140 miles in diameter — roughly the size of Massachusetts.

Most asteroids are made of rocks or ice. But 16 Psyche is dense and mostly made of metal, possibly the leftover core of a planet that never succeeded in forming — a so-called "protoplanet," which had its core exposed following hit-and-run collisions that removed the body of its mantle.

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The study marks the first ultraviolet (UV) observations of the celestial object. New data reveals the asteroid may be made entirely of iron and nickel — found in the dense cores of planets.