NASA is planning to launch the Lucy Mission, the first in a series of asteroid-bound spacecraft, for $981 million.
The $981 million Lucy project, the first in a series of spacecraft that will visit asteroids throughout the solar system, is set to launch on Saturday.
Over the course of 12 years, the Lucy mission will be the first to explore Jupiter’s so-called Trojan entourage of eight asteroids. Lucy plans to fly by seven of the numerous Trojan asteroids before following Jupiter as it circles the sun.
The millions of Trojan asteroids caught between Jupiter’s and the sun’s gravitational forces are thought to be leftovers from the formation of the outer planets and could provide scientists with an insight into the solar system’s past.
“That is what distinguishes the Trojans. If our theories are correct, they formed all around the solar system and have now gathered in one place where we can examine them “Hal Levison of the Southwest Research Institute in Boulder, Colorado, is Lucy’s lead scientist.
See the list below for more Associated Press reporting.
A double-asteroid closer to Earth will be pursued by an impactor spacecraft named Dart just a month after Lucy. Dart will ram the main asteroid’s moonlet to modify its orbit at the end of the mission, a test that could one day save Earth from an oncoming boulder.
A spacecraft will launch next summer to a rare metal world – a nickel and iron asteroid that may once have been the exposed core of a planet. A pair of smaller companion vessels, about the size of bags, will separate from the main ship and travel to another set of double asteroids.
In 2023, a space capsule carrying NASA’s first samples of an asteroid, retrieved last year by the excavation robot Osiris-Rex, will crash onto the Utah desert. The samples are from Bennu, a strewn with rubble and boulders rock that could harm Earth in a few centuries.
“Each of the asteroids we’re visiting recounts our story… the story of us, the story of the solar system,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA’s chief of science missions.
Nothing compares to comprehending how our solar system created 4.6 billion years ago, according to Levinson. “They’re planet formation fossils,” says the narrator. Later this decade, China and Russia will collaborate on an asteroid mission. An asteroid will also pass through the United Arab Emirates. This is a condensed version of the information.