nasa lucy mission

Lucy is an upcoming space mission by NASA, is planned to launch in 2021.NASA selected Lucy and Psyche as the  two missions on Jan. 4, 2017.Which have the potential to open new windows on one of the earliest eras in the history of our solar system, a time less than 10 million years after the birth of our sun.

Lucy will perform the first reconnaissance of the Trojans, primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.

This mission will feature a color imaging and infrared mapping spectrometer from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center.

The lucy mission completed its critical design review on 2019 Oct 18. Jupiter’s swarms of Trojan asteroids may be remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets. And serve as time capsules from the birth of our Solar System more than 4 billion years ago.

The Trojans orbit in two loose groups that orbit the Sun. With one group always ahead of Jupiter in its path, the other always behind.

At these two Lagrange points the bodies are stabilized by the Sun and Jupiter in a gravitational balancing act.

Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojans. The mission takes its name from the fossilized human ancestor called “Lucy” by her discoverers, whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity’s evolution.

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Importance of Lucy mission

Likewise, the Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system.

Lucy will launch in October 2021 and, with boosts from Earth’s gravity, will complete a 12-year journey to seven different asteroids — a Main Belt asteroid and six Trojans, the last two members of a “two-for-the-price-of-one” binary system.

Lucy’s complex path will take it to both clusters of Trojans and give us our first close-up view of all three major types of bodies in the swarms (so-called C-, P- and D-types).

The dark-red P- and D-type Trojans resemble those found in the Kuiper Belt of icy bodies that extends beyond the orbit of Neptune. The C-types are found mostly in the outer parts of the Main Belt of asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter.

All of the Trojans are thought to be abundant in dark carbon compounds. Below an insulating blanket of dust, they are probably rich in water and other volatile substances.

No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our sun. Lucy will show us, for the first time, the diversity of the primordial bodies that built the planets. Lucy’s discoveries will open new insights into the origins of our Earth and us.

Credits: Lucy: The First Mission to Jupiter’s Trojans

Also read: How to Code Like The Top Programmers at NASA — 10 Critical Rules


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