NASA’s Lucy prepares to launch a Trojan asteroid, a group of asteroids in front of and behind Jupiter. Lucy will be launched from Florida on October 26 on an Atlas V rocket. Lucy will fly in search of extraterrestrial life with a cover inscribed with the words of the Beatles and others.
Lucy is targeting the Trojan asteroids known as the children of Jupiter. There are two groups of Trojan asteroids in front of and behind Jupiter. These Trojan asteroids are thought to have originated during the birth of the planets in our solar system.
NASA’s $ 1 billion mission to Lucy is to get a closer look at eight of these Trojan asteroids. The Lucy spacecraft is named after a human fossil found in Afar, Ethiopia in 1974. The human fossil is estimated to be about 32 million years old.
There is a reason behind naming this fossil Lucy. The fossil was discovered by anthropologist Donald Johansson. The day before the landmark discovery, he was listening to the Beatles’ song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. That’s why Joansson named the fossil Lucy.
NASA’s Lucy Trojan will orbit the Sun six times as part of its mission to the asteroids. The latter is expected to orbit the Earth for years between Trojan asteroids.
Like NASA’s Pioneer 10 and 11 missions, Lucy will have a metal frame. Like the gold plates on Voyager 1 and Voyager 2 that passed through the Solar System, Lucy’s metal frame will feature earth and humans. Researchers believe that this is not for extraterrestrial life, but for future human interstellar missions.
In addition to Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, and Martin Luther King Jr., the words of the Beatles members may have been inscribed on Lucy’s metal frame. In addition, a picture of our solar system and Lucy’s trajectory will be drawn on the day Lucy’s launch is scheduled.