To study Jupiter’s asteroid, the 1st NASA mission is getting ready to launch. The name of the mission is Lucy mission which has passed all of its prelaunch tests. It is set to leave Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on October 16. The Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun in two ways. One that is ahead of Jupiter and a second one that lags behind it.
This is the 1st spacecraft designed to visit and observe these asteroids. These asteroids are remnants from the early days of the solar system. This mission will help researchers to find out how the solar system formed 4.5 billion years ago. Lucy’s 12-year mission will help scientists learn how planets ended up in their current spots.
It is estimated that there are about 7000 Trojan asteroids, and the largest is 160 miles across. After the giant planets were formed, they represented the leftover material still hanging around. The giant planets include Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus and Neptune. With Jupiter, the asteroids share an orbit but are still very distant from the planet, almost far as Jupiter is from Sun. According to NASA scientists with Lucy, they will be eight never-before-seen asteroids in 12 years with a single spacecraft. This is an excellent opportunity for discovery as they investigate the distant solar system past. Between Mars and Jupiter, the spacecraft is set to fly by an asteroid in the central asteroid belt. Lucy then explores seven of the Trojans.
Three separate times Lucy will end up swinging back to Earth’s orbit for gravity assists to slingshot it on the right path. That will make the spacecraft the 1st one to travel to Jupiter and returned to Earth. From Lucy Fossil, the mission got its name and this the remains of an ancient human ancestor discovered in Ethiopia in 1974. These objects are viewed by scientists as being the fossils of planet formation. The logo for the mission includes a diamond.
Lucy is more than 46 feet from tip to tip because of its giant solar panels, designed to keep up a power supply to Lucy’s instruments. But it also has fuel to execute some skills maneuvers on the way to the asteroids. Over 12 years, the spacecraft will travel nearly 4 billion miles, moving at about 400,000 miles per hour. One of the Trojans, Eurybates, was chosen because it’s the largest remnant of a massive ancient collision, and this will help the scientists to find out what’s inside asteroids. Each asteroid, the spacecraft will travel differently in color and size.
In the 4.6 billion years, many of these asteroids have been altered very little since they were 1st formed. Three science instruments will be used by the spacecraft to study these asteroids. These include color and black-and-white cameras, a thermometer, and an infrared imaging spectrometer to determine the composition of the asteroids’ surface materials. Using the antenna, the spacecraft will communicate with Earth, and this antenna can also help determine the masses of the asteroids.
Lucy will remain in a stable orbit once the mission is over that retraces the path of its exploration between Earth and Jupiter. It won’t have a chance to collide with either over 100,000 years. If the orbit goes unstable, it will likely get kicked out of the solar system or head on a doomed mission to the Sun.