NASA’s Lucy spacecraft mission is the talk of the town. Its the first space mission for Trojans, and it will help NASA know more about Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. Trojan asteroids have been a mystery for NASA. They orbit the Sun in two different groups. One group moves ahead of Jupiter, and the other one follows it from behind. They are balanced by the Sun’s and Jupiter’s gravity. NASA will send Lucy to study more about these asteroids to space on October 16, 2021.
Lucy spacecraft mission will be one of NASA’s most extended missions so far. Its tenure would be 12 years, so it’s expected that with this mission, NASA will answer various questions related to asteroids and the age of the planet. If you are curious to know more about the planets and the solar system, you must follow the news of the Lucy spacecraft mission. Here we have compiled the key points about Lucy mission for UPSC and other competitive exam aspirants.
With Lucy’s mission’s announcement, the world is looking at NASA to reveal some secrets about Jupiter and our solar system. The mission will be solar powered, and it will use the earth’s gravity to reach its destination. Lucy, the spacecraft, will visit eight asteroids during its tenure in space. It will cost US$981 billion to NASA. Here have a look at the critical information associated with Lucy mission for UPSC, SSC and other exams where you are to answer the GA questions.
NASA’s Lucy Mission: An Overview
- NASA will launch its Lucy mission to space in October 2021.
- It will use the 401 variant of United Launch Alliance Atlas V for launch.
- It will need Earth’s gravitational assistance first in 2022 and second in 2024.
- In 2027, it will reach the Trojans’ clouds to fulfill its purpose. It will visit the four Trojans and again come back to earth in 2031.
- In Earth’s orbit, Lucy will get another gravitational assistance to reach another trojan. It is expected that the mission will get end in 2031, but if Lucy remains stable after spending so many years in space, NASA can extend its period.
- The extension of this space program will depend on Lucy’s six years’ orbit that it will spend between L4 and L5.
The Goal of Lucy Mission
- NASA will send Lucy to space to find the secrets of Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids. A few scientists believe that the asteroids are the pieces of some planet, and few don’t agree with this logic.
- With this mission, the space scientists of NASA will also try to find the traces of life in space. Lucy will target the C-type, D-Type and P-Type asteroids in its mission. These asteroids are like leftover material at the time of space creation. They can be more than 4. 5 billion years old.
- Lucy will help the scientist to know about the material they are formed from. Trojans look different, and with this mission, NASA will get the answer to why they appear like this. It will be an achievement for NASA.
What is in the Name?
NASA doesn’t name its program randomly. It always has some logic behind picking a name for a particular program, and Lucy mission is not an exception. The mission to know more about asteroids is named after Lucy, the skeleton of a human ancestor. In 1974 a skeleton was discovered in Africa that belongs to early Hominine that used to live on earth 3 million years ago. With this mission, NASA will try to know more about the asteroids that can reveal the history of our solar planet. So NASA chose the name Lucy for its mission to know the ancient things in the solar system.
Critical Points of NASA’s Lucy Mission
Check out some key points related to the mission to keep essential things in mind;
NASA’s Lucy mission will be a solar-powered mission, which will get a push from the earth’s gravitational force. Lucy will re-visit the earth three times during its mission.
- The tenure of the mission will be 12 years which can be extended further based on Lucy’s stability.
- The spacecraft will study eight different asteroids, and for this, it has to cover approximately 6.3 kilometers of distance. It will be the first time for a spacecraft to travel so much to study asteroids.
- The space program is named after Lucy, the skeleton of 3.2 million years old Hominine, the ancestor of humans.
- The mission will help to understand the formation of our solar system.
What are the Trojan Asteroids?
As you know that Lucy will visit Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, you must want to know why they are so important that NASA has prepared a mission for them? The word asteroids are inspired by Greek mythology, which denotes the leftover material from the solar system creation. Trojans are clusters of rock and ice that could not be a part of any planet at the time of the solar system‘s formation. Jupiter’s Trojans asteroids encircle the Sun in two groups; one precedes the planet, and another follows Jupiter.
The Bottom Line
We humans have been curious to know the history of the earth and our solar system. With Lucy’s mission of NASA, we may get the answers to many crucial questions related to the birth of the universe. The scientists are expecting that the way Lucy, the skeleton, has revealed many secrets about humans’ history on earth, the Lucy from NASA reveal various secrets about the history of planets and the solar system.