The huge metallic asteroid which is 252km in diameter and experts estimate that it is worth up to £8,000 quadrillion (£8,000,000,000,000,000,000) due to the wealth of rare minerals on it such as platinum.

The asteroid is known as 16 Psyche and is three times farther away from Earth than the sun is.

NASA is set to launch its probe in 2022 with the aim of it arriving at the giant lump of metal floating through space in 2026.

The space agency is sending the probe to the asteroid in order to study the origins of our solar system, as the space rocks are often the leftover debris from planetary formations.

16 Psyche is so mind-bogglingly rich in minerals such as platinum and iron, experts say that bringing just a small chunk back to Earth would cause the global economy to collapse by immediately devaluing precious metals.

Lindy Elkins-Tanton, the lead scientist on the NASA mission and the director of Arizona State University’s School of Earth and Space Exploration, said: “Even if we could grab a big metal piece and drag it back here … what would you do?

“Could you kind of sit on it and hide it and control the global resource — kind of like diamonds are controlled corporately — and protect your market?

“What if you decided you were going to bring it back and you were just going to solve the metal resource problems of humankind for all time?”

Many asteroids are rich in the mineral platinum, which is growing more and more scarce here on Earth.

Platinum is extremely valuable and costs around $1million (£686,982) per 1000 cubic centimetres.

To put that into perspective, an asteroid which passed Earth last year that had £3.7trillion worth of platinum.

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