Is NASA planning a journey to match Paulo Coelho’s “The Alchemist”?
NASA just announced it will be visiting “16 Psyche” – an asteroid calculated to be worth $10,000 quadrillion.
That’s ten billion trillion dollars (or one hundred million times the world’s entire money supply).
Are they going to mine the asteroid?!
No. They’re just going to go have a look…
“The Alchemist” is one of my favourite books which I first read before deciding to start my own business. It’s the story of a shepherd boy, Santiago, who had a dream where he’s told to travel to the Egyptian Pyramids where he would find buried treasure.
The book charts his entire journey, his challenges and discoveries, his disappointment to find no treasure under the Pyramids, and his return home. Where he finally finds the treasure buried under the sycamore tree where he first had his dream.
The story is inspired by George Moore’s quote: “A man travels the world over in search of what he needs and returns home to find it.”
It’s the same journey that each of us must go through in life, and how those who discover the truth of their own hidden treasure use that power to transform their world.
When I read the story of NASA’s big journey, it reads as the same journey on an epic scale.
NASA thinks the asteroid, called “16 Psyche” could be the core of an old planet. By visiting 16 Psyche, we learn about the centre of our own Earth.
Three times further from Earth than the sun, the asteroid is made mainly of nickel and iron (which is what gives it such an enormous dollar value), and the theory is that it used to be a planet the size of Mars, which has been destroyed through collisions, just leaving the metal core.
Lindy Elkins-Tanton of Arizona State University is the Principal Investigator on the trip and says “This is an opportunity to explore a new type of world – not one of rock or ice, but of metal. 16 Psyche is the only known object of its kind in the solar system, and this is the only way humans will ever visit a core.”
She proposed the mission to NASA, who approved it this month – with the mission take-off in 2023, and date of arrival in 2030.
2030 is the target the United Nations has set for us to solve all of the world’s biggest challenges through the 17 UN Global Goals. That year now coincides with our date of arrival to a 200 kilometre wide, $10,000 quadrillion piece of metal 450 million kilometres away – to learn about the heart of our own planet.
“We learn about inner space by visiting outer space.” ~ Lindy Elkins-Tanton
And why is it called “16 Psyche?” It was named by Italian astronomer Annibale de Gasparis, who named it Psyche from Greek Mythology, who represented our soul and married Cupid, who represents our love. It’s symbol, a semicircle topped by a star, represents a butterfly’s wings, the symbol of the soul.
Such a story – and the metaphor of going on an existential “Alchemist’s Journey” to face our collective soul – is the kind of thing you would find in a corny sci-fi novel. Yet here it is, being announced by
NASA as a real-life mission.
Personally, I’m looking forward to being a witness to the story in 2030. Especially the ending, when we return home to find the treasure was here all along.
“Remember that wherever your heart is, there you will find your treasure.” ~ Paulo Coelho