NASA launches a space probe named Lucy to study Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids
NASA has recently launched a first-of-its-kind mission that will predominantly focus on Jupiter's Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks. Scientists believe that these rocks are the remnants of the primordial material that played a crucial role in forming the solar system's outer planets. The space probe launched by NASA is called Lucy.
The space probe is packed inside a specially designed cargo capsule, and it was carried upward by an Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance (UAL), which is a joint venture of Boeing Co and Lockheed Martin Corp. It is a 12-year expedition project. It will mainly study and record the number of asteroids. Lucy will also explore the Trojans and thousands of other rocky objects that orbit the sun in two swarms – one orbiting ahead of the giant gas planet Jupiter and one behind it.
These asteroids are rich in carbon compounds, and they also provide new perceptions into the origin of organic materials and life on Earth. NASA has stated that Lucy will do a fly-by in the solar system's main asteroid belt, called Donald Johanson, to honor the lead discoverer of the fossilized human ancestor called Lucy, from which the name of the NASA mission is derived.