This NASA spacecraft is on its way to the mysterious asteroid clusters of Jupiter
Lucy will take black and white and color images, and use a diamond beam to shine the brightest infrared light of the asteroids to capture their temperature and make maps of their surface. It will also collect other resistances on its flight. This data will help scientists understand how planets form.
Sarah Dodson-Robinson, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Delaware, says Lucy can provide a definite time line not only when the planets were originally formed, however where.
“If you can nail down when Trojan asteroids formed, you have some information about when Jupiter formed, and you can start asking questions like‘ Where did Jupiter go in the solar system? ’” He said. “ Because it’s not always where it is now. It’s moved. “
And to determine the age of the asteroids, the spacecraft will look for craters above that may not be so numerous on the football field.
“[The Trojans] has never nearly collided and broken like other asteroids closer to us, ”Dodson-Robinson said. “We’re likely to see some of the asteroids as soon as they’re done.”
During its 4-billion-mile journey, Lucy will receive three gravity assists from Earth, which will include using the planet’s gravitational force to change the course of the spacecraft without damaging its origins. Coralie Adam, representative of the navigation team for Lucy’s mission, said each push would increase the spacecraft’s speed from 200 miles per hour to more than 11,000 mph.
“If not for the help of Earth’s gravity, it would take five times the amount of fuel – or three metric tons – to reach Lucy’s target, making the mission impossible,” Adam said on the occasion as well. at a media briefing on Oct. 14.
Lucy’s mission is scheduled to end in 2033, but some NASA officials are already confident that the spacecraft will last much longer. “There’s a lot of amount of fuel left on the ship,” Adam said. “After the last encounter with binary asteroids, as long as the spacecraft is healthy, we plan to commit to NASA to conduct an expanded mission and detect more Trojans.”