Launch of Lucy Mission Set Oct. 16 From Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, Will Study Trojan Asteroids
By NASA // August 25, 2021
WILL BLAST OFF FROM Space Launch Complex-41
BREVARD COUNTY • CAPE CANAVERAL, FLORIDA – The upcoming launch of NASA’s Lucy mission, which will send the first spacecraft to study the Trojan asteroids, is scheduled to launch no earlier than Saturday, Oct. 16, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
These small bodies are remnants of our early solar system trapped in stable orbits, clustered in two “swarms” leading and following Jupiter in its path around the Sun.
Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids.
Additionally, Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft ever to return to the vicinity of Earth from the outer solar system.
The Lucy mission is named after the fossilized skeleton of an early hominin (pre-human ancestor) discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and named “Lucy” by the team of paleoanthropologists who discovered it.
Just as the Lucy fossil provided unique insights into humanity’s evolution, the Lucy mission promises to revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, including Earth.
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