• Released Monday, November 2nd, 2020
  • Updated Tuesday, December 5th, 2023 at 12:00AM


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.