NASA Science Live: Lucy in the Sky with Asteroids | Summary and Q&A

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December 10, 2020
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NASA
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NASA Science Live: Lucy in the Sky with Asteroids

TL;DR

NASA's upcoming Lucy mission will study Trojan asteroids, providing vital clues to understanding the history and formation of our solar system.

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Questions & Answers

Q: What are Trojan asteroids, and why are they important to study?

Trojan asteroids are remnants from the formation of the solar system that are trapped in stable regions around Jupiter's orbit. Studying them can provide insights into the chaotic disruption caused by giant planet migration and the origins of the solar system.

Q: How many people are working on the Lucy mission?

Approximately 750 people, including engineers, technicians, scientists, managers, and interns, are involved in the Lucy mission. Each person's role is vital in designing, building, testing, and launching the spacecraft.

Q: Will Lucy be able to discover new asteroids during its mission?

While not the primary goal, it is possible for Lucy to discover new asteroids during its journey. However, the mission's focus is on studying the Trojan asteroids in depth, rather than searching for new ones.

Q: Will Lucy's instruments be able to capture high-resolution images of the Trojan asteroids?

Yes, Lucy will have five cameras on board, including thermal and infrared cameras, to capture close-up images of the Trojan asteroids' surfaces. The highest resolution images will have a resolution of about 14 meters per pixel, enabling the study of geologic features and crater counting.

Summary & Key Takeaways

  • Lucy is the first spacecraft to study Trojan asteroids, which orbit the sun in two groups, one in front of Jupiter's path and the other behind it.

  • The mission will complete a 12-year journey to seven different Trojans, providing close-up views of their surfaces and investigating their composition and geology.

  • Understanding the diversity of Trojan asteroids can shed light on the history and formation of the solar system.

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