As NASA prepares to launch a probe to Psyche 16, a metallic asteroid orbiting the Sun 371 million miles from Earth, the space agency is looking for new ways to pique public interest in the project. Something that should be simple given the rock’s estimated value of $700 quintillion dollars, according to Bloomberg. NASA provides a tantalisingly close-up animation of the asteroid in the video below, which seems a lot like an IMAX movie.
The above mission animation was recently uploaded to NASA YouTube account. In 2022, the space agency hopes to launch its Psyche probe. Despite its great distance from Earth, the asteroid will not arrive until 2026. NASA animation depicts Psyche’s approach to the 140-mile-wide asteroid. We watch as the spacecraft approaches the rock and, like a mellow pod racer, sails through its gorges. Once again, kudos to the first-person perspective, which transforms the film into a Disneyland simulator trip.
Aside from the avarice dreams it conjures, the theory that the metallic asteroid may be the nucleus of a past planet is maybe the coolest feature of Psyche 16. If this is correct, Psyche will be the first planet to give the opportunity to study the core of a planet. And it will give us a better idea of how much precious metal is contained within the inner workings of our own planet.