Lucy

Launching in 2021, NASA's Lucy spacecraft will be the first space mission to study the outer Solar System asteroids known as the Trojans, which are orbiting the same distance from the Sun as Jupiter. These fly-by encounters are planned to take place over a 12-year period. The instruments on board will collect data on surface geology, surface color and composition, the asteroids' interior and bulk properties, as well as any satellites and rings. Lucy is named for the famous Australopithecus afarensis hominid 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.

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  • Lucy L-2 Engineering Briefing
    2021.10.14
    NASA will hold a virtual media briefing at 3 p.m. EDT Thursday, October 14th, to preview the engineering behind the agency’s first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. The Trojan asteroids are remnants of the early solar system clustered in two “swarms” leading and following Jupiter in its path around the Sun. The live briefing will stream on NASA Television, the agency's website, NASA’s Twitter account and the NASA App. Lucy engineering briefing participants include: • Joan Salute, associate director for flight programs, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters. • Katie Oakman, Lucy structures and mechanisms lead, Lockheed Martin Space. • Jessica Lounsbury, Lucy project systems engineer, Goddard. • Coralie Adam, deputy navigation team chief, KinetX Aerospace. Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids. The spacecraft will fly by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids. Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, which will make it the first spacecraft ever to return to our planet’s vicinity from the outer solar system. Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than Saturday, Oct. 16, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Lucy’s principal investigator is based out of the Boulder, Colorado, branch of Southwest Research Institute (SwRI), headquartered in San Antonio, Texas. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland provides overall mission management, systems engineering, and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft. Lucy is the 13th mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
  • Lucy's Journey: Episode 6 - "Into the Unknown"
    2021.10.14
    Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first ever journey to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.
  • Working on a NASA Mission: Lucy Goes to Space
    2021.10.13
    Discover the mysteries of the solar system through the eyes of the Lucy mission and its team members. This fifth episode features a variety of team members who discuss their roles on the Lucy mission.
  • Lucy's Journey: Episode 5 - "The First Flyby"
    2021.10.07
    Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first ever journey to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.
  • Driving a Spacecraft: Lucy Goes to Space
    2021.10.06
    Discover the mysteries of the solar system through the eyes of the Lucy mission and its team members. This fourth episode features Lucy Flight Navigator, Coralie Adam, who discusses how the team directs Lucy on its journey to the Trojan asteroids.
  • Lucy's Journey: Episode 4 - "Instruments"
    2021.09.30
    Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first ever journey to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.
  • Planning for a Spacecraft Launch: Lucy Goes to Space
    2021.09.29
    Discover the mysteries of the solar system through the eyes of the Lucy mission and its team members. This third episode features Project Manager, Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, who discusses spacecraft design and preparation for launch.
  • Designing Lucy’s Path to the Trojan Asteroids
    2021.10.05
    Lucy is the first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojans – two swarms of asteroids that share Jupiter’s orbit, leading and trailing the giant planet by sixty degrees. These primitive bodies are thought to be the “fossils” of planet formation, trapped by Jupiter’s gravity at the dawn of the solar system. Now, NASA is sending Lucy on a winding, twelve-year-long path to visit one main-belt asteroid and seven Jupiter Trojans. Learn more about Lucy’s path to eight asteroids.
  • Lucy Mission Trajectory 'Over-the-Shoulder' Views
    2021.09.28
    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. 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.
  • Lucy's Journey: Episode 3 - "The Trojan Asteroids"
    2021.09.23
    Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first ever journey to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.
  • Lagrange Points: Lucy Goes to Space
    2021.09.22
    Discover the mysteries of the solar system through the eyes of the Lucy mission and its team members. This second episode features Principal Investigator Hal Levison, who discusses the Trojan Asteroids located at Lagrange Points and how the Lucy mission will plot its trajectory out to visit them.
  • Lucy's Journey: Episode 2 - "The Adventure Begins"
    2021.09.16
    Episode 2: The Journey Begins. Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first ever journey to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.
  • Investigating Asteroids with Lucy's Scientific Instruments
    2021.09.22
    This video showcases the suite of instruments aboard the Lucy spacecraft that will be used to collect data on the Trojan asteroids. Since Lucy will be the first space mission to explore the Trojans, the information gathered will provide extraordinary insight into the history of our solar system. The three main science instruments are L’LORRI, L’TES, and L’Ralph, and the mission will also utilize a High Gain Antenna and a terminal tracking camera (T2CAM) to carry out its investigations.
  • Lucy Deployment Animations
    2021.09.15
    These animations show the Lucy spacecraft right after stage one seperations and follow it through fairing seperation, release from the Centaur module, solar panel deployment and main engine burn.
  • Exploring the Solar System: Lucy Goes to Space
    2021.09.15
    Discover the mysteries of the Solar System through the eyes of the Lucy mission and its team members. This first episode features Deputy Principal Investigator, Cathy Olkin, who discusses Lucy's journey out to explore the Trojan asteroids and what we hope to learn about our Solar System.
  • Discovering Eurybates' Satellite
    2021.04.19
    On January 9, 2020, the Lucy Mission officially announced that it would be visiting not seven, but eight asteroids. As it turns out, Eurybates, one of the asteroids along Lucy’s path, has a small satellite. Shortly after the Lucy team discovered the satellite, both it and Eurybates moved behind the Sun, preventing the team from observing it further. However, the asteroids emerged from behind the Sun in July 2020, and since then, the Lucy team has been able to observe the satellite with Hubble on multiple occasions, allowing the team to precisely define the satellite’s orbit and allowing the little satellite to finally get an official name – Queta.
  • Lucy's Journey: Episode 1
    2020.11.24
    Episode 1: Launch. Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first ever journey to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.
  • Lucy Trojan Asteroid Mission: Teaser
    2019.10.21
    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 afarensis hominid 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. More: NASA's Lucy Mission Clears Critical Milestone
  • Lucy Mission Overview: Journey to Explore the Trojan Asteroids
    2020.01.13
    Launching in late 2021, Lucy will be the first space mission to explore the Trojan asteroids. These are a population of small bodies that are left over from the formation of the Solar System. They lead or follow Jupiter in their orbit around the Sun, and may tell us about the origins of organic materials on Earth. Lucy will fly by and carry out remote sensing on six different Trojan asteroids and will study surface geology, surface color and composition, asteroid interiors/bulk properties, and will look at the satellites and rings of the Trojans.
  • Studying Trojan Asteroids with Lucy
    2020.08.03
    Launching in 2021, NASA's Lucy Mission will fly by seven different Trojan asteroids that are orbiting the same distance from the Sun as Jupiter. The mission will address the following science objectives: Surface Geology - Lucy will map the albedo, shape, crater spatial and size-frequency distributions, determine the nature of crustal structure and layering, and determine the relative ages of surface units. Surface Color and Composition - Lucy will map the color, composition and regolith properties of the surface of the Trojan asteroid and determine the distribution of minerals, ices, and organic species. Interiors and Bulk Properties - Lucy will determine the masses and densities, and study sub-surface composition via excavation by craters, fractures, ejecta blankets, and exposed bedding. Satellites and Rings - Lucy will look for rings and satellites of the Trojan asteroids.
  • Lucy mission trajectory
    2019.10.21
    Jupiter's swarms of Trojan asteroids may be remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, and serve as time capsules from the birth of our Solar System more than 4 billion years ago. The Trojans orbit in two loose groups that orbit the Sun, with one group always ahead of Jupiter in its path, the other always behind. At these two Lagrange points the bodies are stabilized by the Sun and Jupiter in a gravitational balancing act. 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 be the first space mission to study the Trojans. The mission takes its name from the fossilized human ancestor (called “Lucy” by her discoverers) whose skeleton provided unique insight into humanity's evolution. Likewise, the Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system. Lucy will launch in October 2021 and, with boosts from Earth's gravity, will complete a 12-year journey to seven different asteroids — a Main Belt asteroid and six 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).
  • Lucy Mission Animations
    2019.10.21
    Beyond the asteroid belt are "fossils of planet formation" known as the Trojan asteroids. These primitive bodies share Jupiter's orbit, and may hold clues to the formation and evolution of our solar system. NASA is preparing to explore the Trojan asteroids for the first time with a mission called Lucy, which will launch in 2021 and visit seven asteroids over twelve years. Like the famous hominid fossil for which it is named, the Lucy mission will improve our understanding of the ancient past, and be the first to uncover these fossils of planet formation.
  • Lucy Instruments
    2020.11.30
    Lucy instrument 3D model LTES
  • Lucy L-20 Briefing
    2021.09.28
    NASA will hold a virtual media briefing at 2 p.m. EDT Tuesday, Sept. 28, to preview the launch of the agency’s first spacecraft to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. The Trojan asteroids are remnants of the early solar system clustered in two “swarms” leading and following Jupiter in its path around the Sun. The live briefing will stream on NASA Television, the agency's website, NASA’s Twitter account and the NASA App. Participants in Tuesday's briefing will include:

    • Alana Johnson, Senior Communications Specialist, NASA Planetary Science Division • Lori Glaze, director of NASA's Planetary Science Division at NASA Headquarters in Washington. • Hal Levison, Lucy Principal Investigator, Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado. • Keith Noll, Lucy Project Scientist, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. • Rich Lipe, Lockheed Marin Spacecraft Program Manager, Denver, Colorado. • Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy Project Manager, NASA Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record number of asteroids in separate orbits around the Sun. The spacecraft will fly by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt, located between the orbits of Mars and Jupiter, followed by seven Trojans. In addition, Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft ever to travel out to the distance of Jupiter and return to the vicinity of Earth. The Lucy mission is named after the fossilized skeleton of an early hominin (pre-human ancestor) discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and named “Lucy” by the team of paleoanthropologists who discovered it. Just as the Lucy fossil provided unique insights into humanity’s evolution, the Lucy mission promises to revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system. Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than Saturday, Oct. 16, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Florida. Southwest Research Institute is the home institution of the principal investigator. NASA Goddard Space provides overall mission management, systems engineering, plus safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space built the spacecraft. Lucy is the 13th mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program for the Science Mission Directorate. The launch is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy Space Center in Florida. For more information about Lucy, visit: http://www.nasa.gov/lucy