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NASA's asteroid hunter Lucy soars into sky with diamonds

A spacecraft named Lucy has rocketed into the sky with diamonds on a 12-year quest to explore a record-setting eight asteroids. The diamonds are part of a science instrument aboard, and NASA enlisted Ringo Starr to make the most of the Beatles reference.

10/16/2021 6:31:00 PM

A spacecraft named Lucy has rocketed into the sky with diamonds on a 12-year quest to explore a record-setting eight asteroids. The diamonds are part of a science instrument aboard, and NASA enlisted Ringo Starr to make the most of the Beatles reference.

CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) — A NASA spacecraft named Lucy rocketed into the sky with diamonds Saturday morning on a 12-year quest to explore eight asteroids. Seven of the mysterious space rocks are among swarms of asteroids sharing Jupiter 's orbit, thought to be the pristine leftovers of planetary formation.

Lucy’s $981 million mission is the first to aim for Jupiter’s so-called Trojan entourage: thousands — if not millions — of asteroids that share the gas giant’s expansive orbit around the sun. Some of the Trojan asteroids precede Jupiter in its orbit, while others trail it.

Despite their orbits, the Trojans are far from the planet and mostly scattered far from each other. So there’s essentially zero chance of Lucy getting clobbered by one as it swoops past its targets, said Levison of Southwest Research Institute, the mission’s principal scientist.

Lucy will swing past Earth next October and again in 2024 to get enough gravitational oomph to make it all the way out to Jupiter’s orbit. On the way there, the spacecraft will zip past asteroid Donaldjohanson between Mars and Jupiter. The aptly named rock will serve as a 2025 warm-up act for the science instruments. headtopics.com

Drawing power from two huge circular solar wings, Lucy will chase down five asteroids in the leading pack of Trojans in the late 2020s. The spacecraft will then zoom back toward Earth for another gravity assist in 2030. That will send Lucy back out to the trailing Trojan cluster, where it will zip past the final two targets in 2033 for a record-setting eight asteroids visited in a single mission.

ADVERTISEMENTIt’s a complicated, circuitous path that had NASA’s science mission chief, Thomas Zurbuchen, shaking his head at first. “You’ve got to be kidding. This is possible?” he recalled asking.Lucy will pass within 600 miles (965 kilometers) of each target; the biggest one is about 70 miles (113 kilometers) across.

“Are there mountains? Valleys? Pits? Mesas? Who knows? I’m sure we’re going to be surprised,” said Johns Hopkins University’s Hal Weaver, who’s in charge of Lucy’s black-and-white camera. “But we can hardly wait to see what ... images will reveal about these fossils from the formation of the solar system.”

NASA plans to launch another mission next month to test whether humans might be able to alter an asteroid’s orbit — practice in case Earth ever has a killer rock headed this way.___The Associated Press Health and Science Department receives support from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content. headtopics.com

Read more: The Associated Press »

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NASA set to launch $981M Lucy mission, first in series of asteroid-bound spacecraftThe Lucy mission will be the first spacecraft to visit a group of asteroids around Jupiter known as 'the Trojans.'

NASA targets 'bizarre' time capsule Trojan asteroids with Lucy missionThe asteroids have sandwiched Jupiter in its orbit, and could tell scientists about the very early stages of the solar system. Do a story on Uranus.

NASA, ULA Launch Lucy Mission to ‘Fossils’ of Planet FormationNASA’s Lucy mission, the agency’s first to Jupiter ’s Trojan asteroids, launched at 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida. ulalaunch nasahqphoto Here’s our view nasa. Well done to the whole TEAM. LucyMission 🇺🇸 ulalaunch nasahqphoto why do you always launch equipment or other missions at such early times in the morning? ulalaunch nasahqphoto I see what you did there

NASA to launch Lucy probe to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroidsNASA's Lucy spacecraft is set to launch for a 12-year expedition to investigate Jupiter asteroids in a first-of-its-kind mission Y waste resources on jupiter/space when famine, starvation and manlutrition is ramapant everywhere… prince william was spot on KensingtonRoyal

Lucy in the sky: Spacecraft will visit record 8 asteroidsNASA set to launch spacecraft to visit 8 asteroids. “Each one of those asteroids we’re visiting tells our story ... the story of us, the story of the solar system,” NASA’s chief of science says. For all those who are new to this working from home Bitcoin trading options Here's a little tip: Get a trusted Bitcoin expert and stick to her earn_with_Jens1 Invest and play at similar times each day. Because : In times of chaos, your investment is your anchor to success Well better than the asteroid visiting earth. For me adopting crypto currency has been smooth since I came in touch with 'Candice Stewart', she has been resourceful and going amazingly great. I make huge profit weekly off trading and top staking offers in the ecosystem, all thanks to CryptoStewart1

NASA's Lucy mission is ready to launch and explore never-before-seen asteroidsThe first NASA mission to study Jupiter 's asteroid swarms will launch at 5:34 a.m. ET on October 16. Lucy is the first spacecraft designed to visit the Trojan asteroids and observe these remnants from the early days of our solar system. Jupiter June ✨ Jackson Jive Jam'n Jah ⭕ Jai Alai Juke'n Jambeau ✨ Jalisco Jewel Jungle Jag 🍀 Juksei Jam Magnetize ⚡ Cosmic Coral 💫 Soul'n Spin Rupt'n Ring 💫 Twang'n Time