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NASA’s Lucy mission:

GS Paper 3

Topics Covered: Awareness in space.

 

Context:

NASA has announced the launch of ‘Lucy’ mission. It will be launched next week.

  • The spacecraft will fly by the Earth twice in order to use the planet’s gravitational field to assist it on its journey to the asteroids.

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About ‘Lucy’ Mission:

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.

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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.

 

Insta Curious:

Did you know that the mission is named after ‘Lucy’, a 3.2 million-year-old ancestor who belonged to a species of hominins (which include humans and their ancestors)?

Did you know that the Asteroids are divided into three categories? Which are those? Reference: read this.

Sources: Indian Express.