NASA’s Lucy spacecraft, which has arrived at Florida’s Kennedy Space Center, is scheduled to launch on October 23 with the help of Earth’s gravity.
Lucy is built to give humanity a close-up of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids. These asteroids are critical for scientists because they are thought to hold the key to understanding how the solar system and planets formed.
According to NASA’s website, Lucy is to launch with the assistance of Earth’s gravity and will embark on a 12-year trip to eight distinct asteroids.
Seven of these asteroids are Trojans, four of which are members of the “two-for-the-price-of-one” double system and one of which is a Main Belt asteroid.
The Lucy spacecraft’s convoluted trajectory will take it to two Trojan clusters, where it will present the world with the first-ever close-up views of all three major body kinds seen in swarms known as C-, P-, and D-types.
The P- and D-type Trojans are comparable to those discovered in the Kuiper Belt, a region of ice bodies located beyond Neptune’s orbit.
The C-Types, on the other hand, are primarily located in the outer reaches of the asteroids’ Main Belt, between Jupiter and Mars.
What Happens Following Lucy’s Pre-Launch?
Following Lucy’s pre-launch testing, integration with the launch vehicle, and launch aboard the Atlas V 401 rocket, the road ahead will see this NASA spacecraft visit eight asteroids, a record-breaking number, according to this PR Newswire.
Lucy is scheduled to swing by the Main Belt asteroid and seven Trojan asteroids as part of an extraordinarily complex orbital track.
Lucy will utilize precision instruments to investigate the geology, physical properties, surface composition, and physical properties of these primitive Trojan asteroids.
One scientific idea says, such objects were scattered during the formation of the Earth’s outer solar system roughly four billion years ago and were later trapped undispersed in Jupiter’s orbit, where they remained for billions of years.
Lockheed Martin program manager Rich Lipe said in a statement, this spacecraft is considerably more than a single piece of hardware. Lucy spacecraft is a “piece of art,” he said.
He is proud of how the team united to build this during a time of global health crisis. To be here, he continued, beginning preparations for launch fills him with joy.