Today was launched NASA’s Lucy mission, a mission to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, astronomical objects belonging to a large group that shares the orbit of the planet Jupiter around the Sun.
It was launched a few hours ago on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at the Cape Canaveral Space Station in Florida.
The mission will last 12 years. Meanwhile, Lucy will fly alongside a Main Belt asteroid and seven Trojan asteroids, analyzing everything that is happening around her.
The objective will be to study many different asteroids, essential to better understand the history of planetary formation.
NASA Administrator Bill Nelson commented:
Lucy embodies NASA’s ongoing quest to step out into the cosmos for exploration and science, in order to better understand the universe and our place within it.
An hour after launch, Lucy broke away from the second stage of the ULA Atlas V 401 rocket and deployed two solar panels 7.3 meters wide, charging her batteries.
It is believed that with the study of these asteroids, it will be possible to learn more about the formation and evolution of the early solar system, as everything indicates that the Trojans are remnants of the material that formed the giant planets.
Lucy’s mission concept began in 2014, but it will be several more years before she reaches the first asteroid in Troy.
Now the spacecraft is traveling at 108,000 km / h, and will approach Earth again in October 2022. Then it will receive another gravitational pulse and in 2024 it will head towards the asteroid Donaldjohanson, located in the main asteroid belt of the solar system, get there in 2025.
You can get more information at this link.