Lucy is the first space mission to observe Trojan asteroids. Jupiter’s asteroids formed in many parts of the Solar System and then collapsed under its strong gravitational points.
There are more than 7,000 of these asteroids, which share Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun. Lucy will travel 400 km near seven of these asteroids. This is the first time a spacecraft has observed so many asteroids.
The Lucy is over 46 feet wide and about 24 feet high, and is equipped with a solar array on its main body.
Powered by solar energy farthest from the Sun, the spacecraft measures the structure, mass, and density of asteroids.
Lucy can find traces of water or minerals and count craters and rings.
Lucy will return to Earth’s orbit three times during her mission, gaining power via fly-by and pushing it in the right direction. In all, Lucy will travel four billion miles trekking to the asteroids. The spacecraft is expected to reach the Trojan asteroids in 2027.
By studying the Trojan asteroids that orbit the Sun in front of and behind Jupiter
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft hopes to unravel the mystery of how the solar system was born 450 billion years ago.
Trojan asteroids are as old as the Solar System. So the information Lucy finds will be crucial.