16-Psyche – the Motherlode
Written by Dr Klaus L E Kaiser
As reported by WalesOnline, there is a large mineral-laden rock, dubbed 16-Psyche, orbiting the sun, ready to be captured, mined, and anything else you might want to do with it.
Even without any mineable resources, its size alone, 140 miles across, could make some folks real estate billionaires. And to prove the point, the rock has also caught the attention of NASA and space mining companies, which hope – eventually – to harvest the asteroid’s presumed rich reserves of gold, etc.
16-Psyche is one of those thousands of asteroids, objects in the universe that travel the interplanetary space. What sets it apart from other rocks of the kind is the (unproven) claim that it is a new kind of “Eldorado.”
The artist who drew up the image (top) may have been inspired by goblins. How else can one explain the impression of a face with two eyes? Or is that just another one of those imponderable coincidences that seem to come to my mind?
The Motherlode Promise
What really gets (or is supposed to get) people excited is the promise (belief ??) of the motherlode of ores, just waiting to get harvested, without any sweat. Obviously, not a realistic thought. Even a pure gold nugget in the interplanetary space isn’t standing still and waiting to be picked “out of thin air” by an astronaut.
The media may think it’s all no sweat and there’s little need for manpower and materials here on earth in exchange of any goods to be obtained from space or elsewhere. Rockets and mining robots don’t require any energy to run — it’s all virtual reality now.
The lasting Allure of Gold
Even if gold were that “relic” of old-fashioned economic ideas, it still has allure. Modernistic thinking has replaced gold and other metals that were considered true “money” in the past, with block-chain algorithms and the old standby, the (now electronic) money printing press. The great advantage of the latter, so its followers claim, is that any amount of “money” can be created at will, like with a simple mouse-click on a computer.
In contrast, real gold cannot be created “ex nihilo.”
But let’s try to go back to the year 1944, when the U.S. and another 43 nations negotiated the Bretton-Woods Agreement, a new monetary order intended to govern monetary relations among independent nations. That system, together with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) was signed onto by 189 countries.
The U.S., so I understand, took this international agreement to do what (many) governments do best, i.e., printing money. Initially, it was just to keep up with domestic productivity gains. But it didn’t stay with that intention for long. It soon turned into a system of “keep on printing.”
Not entirely surprising, then, in 1971, then U.S. President Nixon nixed the Bretton-Woods Agreements (of 1944) on international currency exchange mechanisms and currency convertibility to physical gold. That abrupt change in the agreement’s currency to gold convertibility, known as the “Nixon-Shock” changed the international monetary system that had been in place for decades.
If gold is not on your shopping list, how about iron?
If gold is not on your shopping list, how about iron? The mentioned post states that “It is estimated that Psyche’s iron alone is worth a mind-boggling £8,000quadrillion. A quadrillion is a 1 with 15 noughts [zeros] after it.” Clearly, the riches one can expect from getting hold of that rock are literally “out of this world.” Just imagine, if you could turn all that asteroid iron into gold – you could potentially own the entire earthen world and more! Isn’t that an enticing project to consider?
Oh, what’s that? Reading on, it states “Sadly, it’s an economic impossibility. The world economy is worth £59.9trillion, so injecting several quadrillion into it would cause the whole thing to come crashing down.” Presumably, in this context the meaning of “the whole thing” is the world’s economic system and financial construct.
What a bummer. I was just planning to stake a few claims on the far side of that Psyche asteroid –scooped again! I thought to have found a way to get a small sliver of that claimed-to-be motherlode…!
Iron to Gold (?)
But don’t despair. If your asteroid-mining career appears to have been stopped before getting off the ground, you might want to train in the art of alchemy, a forerunner of modern chemistry. Expertise in that allowed some alchemists of the time (several hundred years ago) to obtain substantial funds to find a way to turn iron into gold. As far as I know, some researchers may still be working on that project. And there is still plenty of iron to be had right here on Earth that could be turned into gold – with the right alchemy.
So, what’s holding you back, lack of trust in asteroid mining or having failed alchemy? You decide!
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