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Asteroid 16 Psyche was discovered in 1852, but it was not until the 1980s that it was recognised as an oddball. Radar observations made from Earth revealed that Psyche is about 200 kilometres across and is made of 90 per cent iron and nickel, with 10 per cent silicate rock.
This composition is strikingly similar to that of Earth's metal core. That means Psyche could have started life as a small rocky world with a metal core and a silicate mantle, similar to the large asteroid Vesta. And astronomers think larger planets like Earth and Venus could have formed when such nascent worlds collided and merged.
But other times, incoming asteroids might have stripped a proto-planet of its soft outer layers. Psyche could have fallen victim to a series of hit-and-runs that robbed it of its mantle, leaving just the metallic core behind. If that core had been liquid at some point, it would have given the object a strong magnetic field. In fact, Psyche could still have a remnant field almost as strong as the Earth's.
reply to post by AliceBleachWhite
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