Lucy Mission Trajectory 'Over-the-Shoulder' Views

  • Released Tuesday, September 28th, 2021
  • Updated Wednesday, May 3rd, 2023 at 1:43PM
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This visualization is a view from the Lucy spacecraft as it travels through the solar system, represented in a Jupiter-rotating reference frame. In this reference frame, Jupiter appears fixed in space. This visualization spans from launch through the flyby of the main belt asteroid DonaldJohanson. (Part 1 of 3)

Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojans asteroids - two loose groups of asteroids that orbit the Sun, with one group always ahead of Jupiter in its path, the other always behind. These primitive bodies hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system, and perhaps even the origins of life and organic material on Earth.

Lucy will launch in October 2021 and, with boosts from Earth's gravity, will complete a twelve-year journey to eight different asteroids — a Main Belt asteroid and seven Jupiter Trojans, the last two members of a “two-for-the-price-of-one” binary system. Lucy’s complex path will take it to both clusters of Trojans and give us our first close-up view of all three major types of bodies in the swarms (so-called C-, P- and D-types).

These visualizations give an 'over-the-shoulder' view of Lucy as the spacecraft travels through the solar system.

This visualization is a view from the Lucy spacecraft as it travels through the solar system, represented in a Jupiter-rotating reference frame. This visualization depicts the next portion of the mission, which includes flybys of Eurybates, Orus, Leucus, and Polymele. (Part 2 of 3)

This visualization is a view from the Lucy spacecraft as it travels through the solar system, represented in a Jupiter-rotating reference frame. This visualization depicts the final portion of the mission, which includes a flyby of the binary asteroid Patroclus/Menoetius. (Part 3 of 3)

This visualization is a view from the Lucy spacecraft as it travels through the solar system, represented in a Jupiter-rotating reference frame. This is a complete view of the entire mission, combining all three sections (parts 1-3) listed above into one visualization, including all asteroid flybys.



Credits

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NASA's Scientific Visualization Studio


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