2021-10-15

NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroid is ready for launch

By yqqlm yqqlm

NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroid is ready for launch

the Lucy mission led by SwRI will survey eight asteroids with one spacecraft in 12 years, breaking the record in its epic journey to Jupiter and Troy asteroids. These diverse, never visited “fossils” left by the formation of the solar system will reveal a lot about the origin of the solar system. “The Trojan asteroid is a relic of the early days of our solar system. It is actually a fossil in the process of planet formation,” said Harold Levison of SwRI, who is the main researcher on the mission. “They have important clues to decipher the history of our solar system. Lucy, like the named fossil of human ancestors, will completely change the understanding of our origin.”

7abac4812f9996c - NASA's Lucy mission to Jupiter's Trojan asteroid is ready for launch

Lucy spacecraft was stuffed into the launch vehicle fairing, The fairing surrounds it like a clam shell. Its first launch attempt is scheduled to be launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida at 5:34 a.m. EDT on October 16

The Lucy mission is the first space mission to explore a diverse group of small objects called Jupiter Trojan asteroids. These small bodies are trapped in a stable orbit shared with the largest planet in the solar system, forming two “groups” to follow Jupiter in its orbit around the sun

“the ability to fly over so many targets means that we will not only observe this previously unnoticed object at close range for the first time, but also study why these asteroids look so different,” said Kathy Orkin, deputy chief investigator of SwRI. “This mission will provide an unparalleled glimpse of the formation of our solar system and help us understand the evolution of the entire planetary system.”

NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroid is ready for launch(1)

Lucy team members spent nearly two months preparing for the flight of the spacecraft at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida. Engineers tested the spacecraft’s mechanical, electrical and thermal systems. They practiced launching procedures at the mission operations centers of Kennedy and Lockheed Martin Space Company in Littleton, Colorado. “Launching a spacecraft is almost like sending a child to College – you’ve done what you can to prepare them for their next important step,” Levison said. “Lucy is ready to fly.”

Lucy’s first launch attempt is scheduled for 5:34 a.m. EDT on October 16. If the weather or any other problems hinder the day’s launch, the team will have additional launch opportunities every morning for the next few weeks

NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroid is ready for launch(2)

SwRI is Lucy’s main research institution. NASA Goddard provides overall mission management, systems engineering, and safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space Company in Littleton, Colorado built the spacecraft. Lucy is the 13th mission of NASA’s discovery program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama manages the discovery program for the agency’s scientific mission agency in Washington. The launch is managed by NASA’s launch service program in Kennedy