Lucy takes off, the NASA mission that will investigate in the origins of the Solar System

The Lucy Mission of NASA, the first of the history dedicated to studying Trojan asteroids (vestiges of the formation of the Solar System), has taken off this Sa

Lucy takes off, the NASA mission that will investigate in the origins of the Solar System

The Lucy Mission of NASA, the first of the history dedicated to studying Trojan asteroids (vestiges of the formation of the Solar System), has taken off this Saturday aboard a cohete Atlas 5 of the company United Launce Alliance (ULA, in English ).

The launch occurred at 5:34 locals (11:34 Spanish peninsular time) from the Kennedy Space Center of Cape Cañaveral, Florida (United States) and from NASA Twitter was celebrated with a brief and round message: "Lucy Is in The Sky! ".

From take-off, Lucy is expected to survive the Earth twice to accelerate and reach 24,000 kilometers per hour; She then will travel in an orbit in which she will barely use fuel.

Lucy will start working at 2025 and will end his mission within 12 years, and at that time he will study eight asteroids: one of the main belt and seven Trojans, 'fossils' of the primitive solar system, from more than 4,000 million years ago, which can Give tracks about the planetary origins.

In fact, the mission is called 'Lucy', like the fossil of Australopithecus Afarensis, of more than three million years, which was discovered in 1974 in Ethiopia, and that was baptized as the Beatles Song, Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds

That fossil was a key finding for the study of human evolution and, now, this spatial mission can be a unique opportunity to understand our planetary origins and perhaps to find out how life came to earth.

In the live retransmission of NASA, numerous experts were interviewed, including Donald Johanson, the paleaAntropologist who discovered Lucy, for whom this mission is a sample of the creative capacity of the human brain, or Bob Cabana, Associate Administrator of the NASA, who said that "look back, to the origin, is exciting."

Cathy Olkin, a planetary scientist at the Southwest Research Institute and deputy main investigator of the mission, explained that Lucy will serve to study the formation and evolution of the Solar System and to delve into the understanding of where we come from.

In addition, numerous personalities, such as Turkish Orhan Pamuk (Nobel of Literature 2006) or US Billy Collins, sent videos with their best wishes for the ship, although perhaps the most special message was the battery of the Beatles, Ringo Starr, who said, "I'm so happy ..., Lucy returns to heaven with diamonds. John would love ... Lucy, if you know someone there, give them peace and love of me".

In his mission, Lucy will follow an asteroid from the main belt, between Mars and Jupiter, and seven Trojans, small remnants of the primitive solar system trapped in stable orbits and grouped into two "swarms" who guide and escort Jupiter on his way around the Sun.

It is the first mission of history destined to examine this enigmatic population of small bodies that orbit around the sun beyond the main asteroid belt, trapped by Jupiter and the sun.

The ship will study the asteroids in a few minutes, while surviving them in the nearest distance that will be an average of about 1,000 kilometers and, for this, it is equipped with the instruments L'Tes, L'Ralph, and L'Lorri, that will collect the necessary data to try to reveal the mysteries of the formation of the planets.

The first is a spectrometer of thermal emissions that will help a better understanding of the physical properties of the regolist, which are rock fragments, mineral grains and other surface tanks found on unchanged solid rock.

L'Ralph is the combination of a multispectral visible camera and an infrared image spectrometer to look for ice and organic substances and determine the composition of the mineral of the asteroids.

Meanwhile, the L'Lorri will provide detailed black and white images of the surface of the Trojans that will help understand geological characteristics and crate count, which will help determine the age of these asteroids.

But the ship, in addition, will carry with him a time capsule with inspiring messages of thinkers and laureate poets from different nationalities.

When Lucy finishes her mission, in 2033, the ship will continue traveling between Trojan asteroids and Earth's orbit for at least several hundred thousand years, although, if everything goes well, it could navigate for millions of years.

And maybe, some day in the distant future our descendants will find Lucy floating among the planets.

Updated Date: 16 October 2021, 08:29

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