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 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.