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NASA’s Lucy Ready for the First-Ever 4 Billion-Mile Journey to Fossil Asteroids

As billionaires are pioneering space flights and making everyone question the future of humanity, NASA is quietly working on diving even deeper into the knowledge of the Universe. The Moon is everyone’s favorite and Mars takes center stage as well, but Jupiter and Venus hold their own important secrets.
Lucy officially arrived at the Kennedy Space Center, where it will prepare for this fall's launch 7 photos
Lucy Spacecraft Arrival at Kennedy Space CenterLucy Spacecraft Arrival at Kennedy Space CenterLucy Spacecraft DevelopmentLucy Spacecraft DevelopmentLucy Spacecraft DevelopmentLucy Spacecraft Development
Not as famous as other spacecraft, Lucy is actually about to embark on a historical space journey that will have a huge impact. It will travel for no less than 12 years, on a 4 billion-mile journey to the so-called fossils of the Solar System. In fact, it will visit a record-breaking number of asteroids – eight of them, on six independent routes.

Known as the Trojan asteroids, these small bodies orbit the Sun beyond the main asteroid belt and, because they were “trapped” by Jupiter, they follow in its orbit. As fossils, they can give us a lot of insight into the formation and evolution of planets, which is why they are so important. So far, they have never been explored, so Lucy (who was named after the famous fossilized human ancestor) will be a true pioneer in reaching these asteroids.

Designed and built by Lockheed Martin, the spacecraft is one step closer to its epic journey. At the end of last month, it officially arrived at Kennedy Space Center, in Florida. Like a true star, Lucy was flanked by its own police escort.

The almost one-ton heavy spaceship was first delivered on a special transport truck at the company’s Colorado facility. Then, it took 40 people to place it onto the C-17 transport aircraft, which then touched down on the Space Shuttle Landing Strip, at Kennedy Space Center. Here, it was moved to Astrotech Space Operations, where the launch preparations will take place.

Lucy will be launched this fall, with the 23-day launch window opening on October 16. After finishing its ground-breaking mission 12 years from now, Lucy will continue to float for hundreds of thousands of years, as an eternal reminder for the next generations.

press release
 
 
 
 
 

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