There Lucy mission of NASA has the task of heading towards the unexplored and much desired area of the “Trojan clouds” of Jupiter: two large agglomerations of asteroids that rotate in synchrony on the same orbit of the gas giant, in the so-called “Lagrange points”.
We have already talked about the Lucy mission before, but only now – announces NASA – the project has managed to overcome the fateful “Key Decision Point-D”, Which is a set of independent tests covering the technical integrity, planning and cost of the project; is the official transition from the development phase to the integration phase of the e finally at launch. Lucy will make a journey through the asteroid belt to the vicinity of Jupiter, studying a total of eight asteroids in almost a decade, then reaching the so-called “Jovian Trojan asteroids”, In which a continuous balance persists between the gravitational attractions of Jupiter and the Sun.
Lucy, so named in memory of our hominid ancestor, will have the task of probing these space rocks in search of possible remains of water in the inner layers of asteroids. Since “Trojans” spawned around the same time as the solar system was formed, their study may help scientists understand how our entire neighborhood was formed solar. The construction of the probe is already well underway and could be completed by July 2021, hoping then for a filaunch window for October 2021. The probe will then take a full four years before reaching its first goal.
“This team has been truly incredible“said Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, principal manager of the Lucy project:”Building a spaceship is never easy, but seeing the team persevere in all the challenges they encountered is inspiring. It is simply amazing!“.