While ancient tectonics and gravitational lensing are interesting subjects, there is nothing quite like a new space mission to get people excited, and the end of this year is hoping to bring us all the major launches. First up, NASA’s Lucy mission is scheduled to launch no earlier than Saturday, October 16 at 5:34 am EDT.
Lucy, named for the famous fossil discovered in Ethiopia, is going to study several of the Trojan asteroids in orbit with Jupiter. There are two swarms of these Trojan asteroids, with one trailing Jupiter in the L5 Lagrange point and one leading Jupiter in the L4 Lagrange point. This mission is pretty cool because Lucy is going to basically make figure eights in space and visit seven Trojan asteroids plus one main-belt asteroid over twelve years.
That main-belt asteroid is called 52246 Donaldjohanson and is named for the scientist that discovered the Lucy fossil. And as we learned a lot about the evolution of humanity from that one fossil find, so too, do we hope to learn about the evolution of our solar system from these asteroids.
We’ll bring you more coverage of the upcoming launch and its mission here on Daily Space, so make sure to follow our social media channels for announcements, stories, and possibly even a live launch stream.
NASA press release
NASA’s Lucy Mission to the Trojan Asteroids (Unistellar Optics)