Most asteroids are made up of carbon-rich substances, silicate materials or metals. But did you know about one space rock that is made of Earth’s rarest metals? The asteroid, known as 16 Psyche, is made up of gold, nickel, and iron deposits. According to NASA, it could be worth more than the world’s economy put together! Other than its gold-rich structure, the outer surface of this asteroid is nickel-rich which resembles an early planet’s core. It is worth nearly $10 quadrillion, and this is why NASA has planned a mission to this asteroid to study its composition.
Alongside 16 Psyche asteroid, another asteroid has piqued the interest of scientists lately as it will be making its closest approach to Earth in years.
Asteroid 2023 QD2
At present, 1298148 asteroids have been discovered to date, and Asteroid 2023 QD2 is one of them. NASA’s Center for Near-Earth Object Studies (CNEOS) has designated this space rock as Asteroid 2023 QD2, and it will make its closest approach to Earth today, August 29. During its approach, it will come as close as just 1.2 million kilometers from the planet’s surface.
NASA, with the help of its various space and ground-based telescopes, has revealed that it is hurtling towards Earth at a staggering speed of 27970 kilometers per hour, which is nearly as fast as a space shuttle!
According to NASA, this asteroid is not big enough to be classified as a Potentially Hazardous Object. A celestial body has to be around 492 feet wide and pass Earth at a distance closer than 7.5 million kilometers to be considered a Potentially Hazardous Object. On the other hand, Asteroid 2023 QD2 is almost as big as a house, with a width of just 46 feet.
Asteroid 2023 QD2 belongs to the Aten group of asteroids, which are Earth-crossing Near-Earth Asteroids (NEAs) with semi-major axes smaller than Earth’s. They are named after the asteroid 2062 Aten and the first of its kind was discovered by American astronomer Eleanor Helin at Palomar Observatory on January 7, 1976. These asteroids have an orbital period of less than one year and spend most of their time hidden by the Sun.