NASA is preparing its Lucy mission which is scheduled to take off on 16 October next week.
Lucy will become the first spacecraft to explore Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids and will also be the first to examine multiple solar system targets. The Lucy mission is a twelve year journey making it NASA’s longest space mission so far.
Lucy is all set to launch from earth on 16 October and will launch aboard an Atlas V 401 rocket. Lift-off is scheduled for 3:04 pm IST for Indian viewers.
The Trojan asteroids are named after the characters from Greek mythology. These are the asteroids that are leftover from the formation of the solar system. According to the space agency, these Trojan asteroids circle the sun in two groups where one precedes and the other follows Jupiter. These asteroids didn’t become planets when the solar system formed and so it is considered the best evidence left to learn about the solar system’s formation.
Lucy will study the asteroids from close range and doing so is expected to help scientists learn more about the planets in our solar system. In the year 2025, its planned journey should make Lucy flying past Donaldjohanson which orbits in the asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter.
Its 12-year journey is expected to end in two ways, either it will come back to earth as an artefact or will be flung into the sun or out of the solar system by Jupiter.