Science & Tech

Asteroid containing metal worth 11.65 trillion USD moves close to Earth

The surface of asteroid 1986 DA consists of 85% metals such as iron and nickel and only about 15% silicate – the main component of ordinary rock.

Scientists estimate that one in two metal asteroids that move close to Earth could contain about $11.65 trillion worth of precious metals, Cnet reported on October 5. These asteroids are more than 1.6km wide. In which, the asteroid 11.65 trillion USD is named 1986 DA. It may even contain more iron, nickel and cobalt than the global reserves of the metal. The other asteroid in the duo is called 2016 ED85.

The duo is a potential target for future asteroid mining, the team said. The study was published in the journal The Planetary Science.

Mining space minerals is gradually gaining scientific interest as experts believe this will help provide metals for settlements on Mars or the Moon at a cost-effective price, helping humans reach far. more in space exploration. With space mines, people don’t need to launch expensive trains to carry construction materials from Earth to other places.

In addition, the expert team also believes that studying 1986 DA and 2016 ED85 will help scientists understand more about 16 Psyche, a metal-rich asteroid that NASA plans to launch to explore in 2022. 16 Psyche is believed to contain large amounts of metal with an estimated value of 10 billion USD. However, before the rover arrived, scientists could not be sure of the asteroid’s composition because it was too far away.

Nicknamed “Mini Psyche”, 1986 DA and 2016 ED85 can provide useful data regarding 16 Psyches. Because of their proximity to Earth, it is also much simpler to collect their spectral information.

“Fortunately, we have discovered mini Psyche asteroids so close to Earth,” said Vishnu Reddy, an associate professor at the University of Arizona’s Lunar and Planetary Laboratory.

1986 DA and 2016 ED85 are believed to be fragments from a similar object 16 Psyche. Considering the collected data, the scientists believe that they are composed of 85% of metals such as iron and nickel and only 15% of silicates, the main component of ordinary rock.

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