The United States Space Agency (Nasa) launched the ‘Lucy’ probe this Saturday to study the Trojan asteroids that share orbit with the planet Jupiter.
“’Lucy’ is in heaven! Mission ‘Lucy’ has taken off at 5.34 am from the east coast ”, 11.34 am peninsular Spanish time, reported NASA through its Twitter account.
‘Lucy’ has departed for space aboard an Atlas V rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Base, Florida. It will be a 12-year mission to visit eight different asteroids.
“Like its namesake ‘Lucy’, the fossil remains of the human ancestor that shed light on evolution, this probe will revolutionize our understanding of planetary origins and the formation of the Solar system,” said NASA.
This is the first mission to Trojan asteroids, which could contain “time capsules on the birth of our Solar system more than 4,000 million years ago.”
These two groups of asteroids would be the remains of the primordial matter that formed the outer planets that were in gravitational balance.
I’m a science journalist and host of Cosmic Controversy (brucedorminey.podbean.com) as well as author of “Distant Wanderers: the Search for Planets Beyond the Solar System.” I primarily cover aerospace and astronomy. I’m a former Hong Kong bureau chief for Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine and former Paris-based technology correspondent for the Financial Times newspaper who has reported from six continents. A 1998 winner in the Royal Aeronautical Society’s Aerospace Journalist of the Year Awards (AJOYA), I’ve interviewed Nobel Prize winners and written about everything from potato blight to dark energy. Previously, I was a film and arts correspondent in New York and Europe, primarily for newspaper outlets like the International Herald Tribune, the Boston Globe and Canada’s Globe & Mail. Recently, I’ve contributed to Scientific American.com, Nature News, Physics World, and Yale Environment 360.com. I’m a current contributor to Astronomy and Sky & Telescope and a correspondent for Renewable Energy World. Twitter @bdorminey