Lucy Mission : NASA

Current Affairs

  • National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) is set to launch ‘Lucy’, its first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan Asteroids.
  • Lucy was successfully launched on Oct. 16, 2021, and will visit eight asteroids over 12 years — one asteroid in the main belt between Mars and Jupiter, and seven Trojan asteroids leading and trailing Jupiter in its orbit.
  • 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).
  • The spacecraft will be launched on an Atlas V 401 rocket.

Trojan Asteroids:-

  • Asteroids sharing an orbit with a planet, but which are located at the leading (L4) and trailing (L5) Lagrangian points, are known as Trojan asteroids.
  • These asteroids occupy a stable Lagrangian point in a planet’s orbit around the Sun.
  • Trojan Asteroids are some of the oldest remnants from the formation of our solar system 5 billion years ago.
  • There are currently over 4,800 known Trojan asteroids associated with Jupiter.
  • They orbit the Sun in two loose groups: one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its orbit, the other trailing behind at the same distance from the Sun as Jupiter.
  • Due to the combined gravitational influences of the Sun and Jupiter, these Trojan asteroids have been trapped on stable orbits (around what is known as the Lagrange Points) for billions of years.

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