Sunday, November 18, 2018

NASA Goes Forward with Mission to Jupiter's Trojans

    NASA has recently authorized the implementation and 2021 launch of the Lucy spacecraft. This will be the first mission that will visit the Trojans, a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter near the asteroid belt.
    The confirmation review authorized continuation of the project into the development phase. The review panel approved the detailed plans, instrument suite, budget and risk factor analysis for the spacecraft. From here on in, the Critical Design Review will examine Lucy's system design before assembly occurs.
    “Up until now this mission has entirely been on paper,” said Lucy Principal Investigator Hal Levison of the Southwest Research Institute at Boulder, Colorado. “Now we have the go ahead to actually cut metal and start putting this spacecraft together.”
     During its 12-year journey, the spacecraft is expected to visit seven different asteroids - a Main Belt asteroid and six Trojans. Using a remote-sensing instrument suite, the spacecraft will study the geology, surface composition and bulk physical properties of these bodies at a short range.
    “Today’s confirmation of Lucy is a key step towards better understanding the role that small bodies played in the formation of the Solar System and life on Earth,” said Adriana Ocampo, Lucy’s program executive at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. “We congratulate the entire team for their hard work.”
 

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