You know what kind of country could really use a spontaneous infusion of $10 quintillion? (If you’re curious, spelled out numerically, that’s $10,000,000,000,000,000,000.) The kind of country that’s over $32 trillion in debt, just as the United States of America currently is. (If you’re morbidly curious, spelled out numerically, the government lists today’s updated national debt figure as $32,592,226,328,901.) Given that there is an asteroid valued at $10 quintillion inching ever-so-closer to being studied, you can understand why interest in it would be piqued. On Tuesday, NASA (through its Jet Propulsion Laboratory at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena) announced that it was in the “home stretch” for its much-hyped mission to study 16 Psyche, the aforementioned asteroid of such literal astronomical value. The release notes that NASA is within 100 days of the expected Oct. 5 launch of the Psyche spacecraft, and that the craft is “undergoing final preparations” in Cape Canaveral, Florida. “The team and I are now counting down the days to launch,” Henry Stone, the project manager, said. “Our focus has shifted to safely completing the final mechanical closeout of the spacecraft and preparing the team for operations. The team is conducting numerous training activities to ensure that we are prepared and ready. It’s a very busy time, but everyone is very excited and looking forward to the launch.” It’s worth noting that, just like Mr. Stone’s remarks, nowhere in the NASA release is it mentioned that 16 Psyche has such fiscal value, and that’s probably intentional. The $10 quintillion figure is being reported on by multiple outlets, including Business Insider, but appears to be a completely separate focus than that of NASA’s. (The number appears to have originated with the Smithsonian Magazine at the beginning of 2022.) The closest NASA comes to describing 16 Psyche’s value is when the government branch calls it “metal-rich.” NASA’s focus on 16 Psyche has to do with studying early planetary formation and planetary cores, per Insider. The outlet also reports that the asteroid is 173 miles wide and is made up of gold, iron and nickel. NASA believes the asteroid could actually be the partial core of a small, planet-like body. For now, the asteroid appears to be little more than a grand science project, and not some magical get-out-jail-free card for the beleaguered President Joe Biden and his potentially corrupt administration. Still, there are some eye-popping numbers attached to 16 Pysche that will be harder to ignore if the country’s current financial trajectory doesn’t drastically improve. First, 16 Psyche is apparently just a chip off the block. Insider reports that, per NASA, 16 Psyche could be part of a larger belt of similarly mineral-rich asteroids. The total valuation of that asteroid belt is estimated at an unfathomable $700 quintillion. In fact, 16 Psyche appears to be a positively average asteroid, as far as valuation goes. Insider notes that another asteroid residing in that belt, named Davida, has an estimated $27 quintillion (or, nearly three times as much as 16 Psyche.) Second, even if the sudden introduction of 16 Psyche actually drove precious metal prices down (per basic supply and demand principles) even a 90 percent drop in value puts the space rock at $1 quintillion — a figure that would wipe out America’s massive debt several times over. Finally, even if 16 Psyche isn’t the golden ticket at the moment, it could pave the way for a burgeoning space mining industry that could help America’s economy out. Financial experts at Citigroup predict the space mining industry to boom into a trillion-dollar industry by 2040. As sobering as it is to think that even a full trillion dollar infusion into the country would barely put a dent in its national debt, it would still be a start to something good — just like 16 Psyche could be for the industry of space mining. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.