The article does contain a bit of hyperbole in terms of assigning a value to the metal contents of 16 Psyche. If the intention was to bring that metal down to the Earth’s surface then there would be significant associated cost. But that would still be easier in many ways than the problem that we currently face – getting mass up to LEO and beyond. It takes a lot of energy to put a kilogram of mass into orbit. The point of mining asteroids is to avoid that costly and limiting Earth-to-orbit step. The objective is to mine, refine, and manufacture structures and vehicles in orbit to relieve the incredible burden of launching this material to orbit.
If humanity is going to move out into the solar system, we need to learn to cut the umbilical cord with Earth. This represents one step in that direction – sourcing key metallic resources from space. We also need to source hydrocarbons, water, and other key building blocks for to create functional space ecosystems.
In addition, we may be able to utilize asteroids like 16 Psyche as space habitats even as we mine them for resources. The remaining shell of a nickel-iron asteroid would likely provide substantial shielding from space radiation.
There are too many skeptics in this world. Many suffer from limited vision. Others suffer from limited intellect. It is easy to project scorn and ridicule. History tends to forget those people. We remember the ones who dream and dare to turn those dreams into reality.