Beyond the asteroid belt are "fossils of planet formation" known as the Trojan asteroids. These primitive bodies share Jupiter's orbit in two vast swarms, and may hold clues to the formation and evolution of our solar system. Now, NASA is preparing to explore the Trojan asteroids for the first time. A mission called Lucy will launch in 2021 and visit seven asteroids over the course of twelve years – one in the main belt and six in Jupiter's Trojan swarms.
Lucy is named for the famous Australopithecus afarensishominid fossil that shed light on our early human ancestors. By making the first exploration of the Trojan asteroids, the Lucy mission will improve our understanding of the early solar system, and be the first to uncover these fossils of planet formation.