NASA’s upcoming asteroid mission to explore the early days of our solar system is about to begin.
the Lucy The spacecraft targets the launch window, which opens on Saturday (October 16). After the explosion, the spaceship will make a 12-year journey to the outer solar system, where it will visit six ancient “Trojans”. Asteroids This orbit is in the same orbit as the planet the Jupiter.
This ambitious mission will include a number of novelties – Lucy will be the first spacecraft to visit asteroids in this region and the first to fly over Earth from the outer solar system. In addition, the mission will add new data as scientists want to learn more about the early history of our universe.
“No other space mission in history has been launched in independent orbits around our sun to so many different destinations,” NASA said in a book. job description. “Lucy will show us for the first time the variety of primordial bodies that built the planets.”
Related: Lucy’s mission to explore 7 Trojan asteroids explained by NASA
Lucy is named for an early fame Australopithecin-Skelett (Android) It is roughly 3.2 million years old and its discovery has long been celebrated as the cornerstone of understanding human evolution. The skeleton itself was named after Lucy in the 1967 Beatles tune called “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” a song the prospectors danced to during the 1974 flight that revealed the skeleton, NASA said in a press release. Press release 2017 About Lucy’s mission.
NASA was inspired by Lucy’s skeleton, which for the agency represented the beginning of mankind, to name a mission that would teach us more about the beginnings of our solar system.
“These asteroids are really like diamonds in the sky for their scientific value in understanding how giant planets were formed and how the solar system evolved,” said Harold Levison, Lucy’s senior researcher at the Southwest Research Institute (SwRI). NASA statement 2017. Levison suggested naming the expedition after the skeleton.
Lucy’s twelve-year journey will take her to at least eight different asteroids Three visits to earth (two before leaving for the outer solar system and one after) to gain speed through gravity. One small world will be in the “main belt” of the asteroids between Mars and Jupiter, while the other seven will be Trojans. Notably, four of the seven Trojans were paired so that Lucy could see two asteroids at the same time on each of these specific visits.
The mission is aimed at a group of Different types of asteroid bodies: Type C (chondrites, common ancient clay and silicate asteroids), Type D (low albedo or reflective asteroids that can be rich in organic particles), and Type P (more asteroids with lower albedo that are also rich in organic matter can, on although there are still no samples on earth to confirm this).
The planned Lucy asteroid targets are 52246 DonaldJohansson, 3547 Eurybates and its mini satellite Queta, 15094 Polymele, 11351 Leucus, 21900 Orus and the double star 617 Patroclus / Menoetius. Lucy’s side More details on the type, size and orbit of each asteroid.
NASA officials wrote in job description. “C-types occur mainly in the outer parts of the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. All Trojans are believed to be rich in dark carbon compounds. Under an insulating blanket of dust, they are likely to be rich in water and other volatiles. ” . “
It’s going to be Lucy. to fly multiple tools: Color image to determine the composition; A long range reconnaissance photographer to take high resolution images of the surface of each asteroid; Thermal emission spectrometers to study how Trojans store heat; A terminal tracking camera to get large format images of asteroids to learn more about their shapes; and a high gain antenna to determine the masses of each of those little worlds.
Asteroids and Comets They represent the little things that are left over from when our solar system was formed about 4.5 billion years ago. Studying the structure, orbits, and other dynamics of these small worlds tells cosmologists more about how our neighbors came into being.
Lucy will also build on several recent asteroid missions, including NASA’s Osiris Rex The mission currently on its way to Earth with a sample of the asteroid Bennu and Japan Hayabusa 2 That returned to Earth in late 2020 with dust from the asteroid Ryugu. Both objects are near-Earth asteroids, and comparing this class of space rock with Lucy’s observations of the Trojans could open a new avenue for scientists to understand the solar system.
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