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Meet Lucy, the mission that NASA is sending on Saturday to explore Jupiter asteroids |  Science

Meet Lucy, the mission that NASA is sending on Saturday to explore Jupiter asteroids | Science

NASA is ready to ship, on Saturday morning (16), its first spacecraft bound for study Jupiter Trojan Asteroids. The mission’s goal is to gain new perspectives on the formation of the solar system 4.5 billion years ago.

The probe, named Lucy after an ancient fossil that helped understand the evolution of humankind, will be launched from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

The task is to investigate the group of rocky bodies orbiting the sun in two groups, one ahead of Jupiter in its orbital path and the other following it.

The analysis showed that asteroids that follow the Sun in the same orbit as Jupiter are uniformly dark with a touch of burgundy and have frosted surfaces that reflect little sunlight. Photo: NASA/JPL-Caltech

After receiving impulses from Earth’s gravity, Lucy will embark on a 12-year journey to eight different asteroids: one in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter and then seven Trojans.

Hal Levison, the mission’s chief scientist, explained to reporters about the Trojan asteroids, which number more than 7,000 in total.

“For example, they have very different colors, some are gray and some are red,” he added. The differences indicate how far away they may have formed from the Sun before taking their current trajectory.

Original parts of NASA missions are shown for the first time in Brazil

The probe will fly up to 400 kilometers from the surface of the target objects, and will use on-board instruments and large antennas to examine its geology, including composition, mass, density and volume.

The spacecraft was built by Lockheed Martin and includes more than three kilometers of wires and solar panels that, when stacked, would be a five-story building tall.

It will be the first solar-powered spacecraft to venture far from the sun, and it will observe more asteroids than any other spacecraft before. The total cost of the mission is $981 million.

Researchers who discovered the Lucy fossil in Ethiopia in 1974 named it after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” who were listening loudly at the expedition camp.

In honor of this legacy, NASA’s official mission logo is designed in the shape of a diamond.