NASA has confirmed that it will launch its latest mission to explore asteroids to learn more about the early days of our solar system. The Lucy spacecraft is currently scheduled to take off on October 16 at 2:34 a.m. Pacific time (3:04 pm IST October 17).
If you want to experience the historic launch event, you can watch it online via NASA TV. NASA says the spacecraft will cover the mission to complete a 12-year journey to eight different asteroids.
During the 12-year journey, the spacecraft will travel to the outer solar system. Lucy will explore ancient asteroids called Trojan meteorites that are said to orbit the sun.
NASA describes the Trojan meteorite as “time capsules from the birth of our solar system”. The Trojan meteorite “orbits the sun in two masses, with one group moving ahead of Jupiter and the other behind it.” Named for the characters in Greek mythology.
The Trojan meteorite is said to orbit Jupiter, the largest planet in our solar system. Lucy was the first spacecraft to visit these asteroids in this part of our solar system.
The spacecraft will help purchase data, which will help scientists delve deeper into the ancient history of the solar system.
With Lucy, we go with the same spacecraft to eight asteroids we have never seen in 12 years. This is a wonderful opportunity to explore the distant past of our solar system, ”said NASA scientist Tom Stadler in a statement.
NASA believes Lucy’s mission will “revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origin and the formation of the solar system.”
As part of a 12-year mission, Lucy will explore “record-breaking asteroids”.
“The spacecraft will fly one asteroid and seven Trojan meteorites in the main belt of the solar system. Lucy’s path will return to Earth three times for gravity assistance, making it the first spacecraft to return to our planet from the outer solar system,” NASA said in a statement.