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NASA’s Lucy mission

  • IAS NEXT, Lucknow
  • 28, Apr 2022
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NASA’s Lucy mission — set to explore a group of asteroids that follow behind and in front of Jupiter’s orbit — hit a snag recently when one of its solar arrays failed to unfurl.

  • NASA will perform two steps over the next several months to fully reveal an unfurled solar array.

About ‘Lucy’ Mission:

Launched in October 2022, this is NASA’s first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

  • It is a solar-powered mission.
  • It is estimated to be over 12 years long, during the course of which the spacecraft will visit eight asteroids covering a distance of about 6.3 billion km to deepen the understanding of the “young solar system”.

Aim of the mission:

The mission is designed to understand the composition of the diverse asteroids that are a part of the Trojan asteroid swarms, to determine the mass and densities of the materials and to look for and study the satellites and rings that may orbit the Trojan asteroids.

What are Trojan Asteroids? Why are they called so?

These asteroids are believed to be the remnants of the early solar system, and studying them will help scientists understand its origins and evolution, and why it looks the way it does.

  • The Trojan asteroids are believed to be formed from the same material that led to the formation of planets nearly 4 billion years ago when the solar system was formed.