Lucy is the affectionate name of NASA’s asteroid probe that left the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The goal is to study two different clusters of asteroids that are around Jupiter known as Trojans.
It’s a major step for humans as we will discover the final unexplored regions of asteroids in the solar system with the help of Lucy. As a result, scientists will have a greater understanding of how these planets came to be in the first place.
Lucy Launches Into Action
Lucy sprung to action after launching off on the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket at 5:34 a.m. EDT this morning. The greatest news of all, Lucy phoned home to say all was good. Lucy’s solar arrays deployed about two hours after the successful launch.
According to Space.com, Lucy will first spend time looping around Earth a couple of times in order to gain enough momentum to reach Jupiter. Understanding Trojans is important. These seven asteroids she is exploring are “cosmic time capsules” to understand the solar system. They are fragments of a much earlier solar system with perhaps keys to understanding the entire mystery of it all.
If this is all intriguing to you, then you can also watch the live coverage of the asteroid explorer yourself. You can get all the mission updates through NASA. The organization tweeted a video of live coverage for people to enjoy.
Inspiration Behind NASA’s Lucy
If the name Lucy sounds familiar for science enthusiasts, that’s for a good reason. NASA decided to name the newest explorer after the 3.2 million-year-old famous hominin skeleton that was found in 1974. It was a key to better understanding evolution. Now, the new Lucy can similarly be the way to understanding the formation of the solar system and how it has evolved over time.
“You know, the world is going through some tribulations, something as positive as this people should look at and see what the creativity of the human mind can do. And there it is, she’s on her way and she will tell us so much. I just had goosebumps,” Donal Johanson, the man who discovered Lucy years ago, said during a NASA interview.
Lucy won’t reach its first asteroid until 2025. Although we have some years to go before learning much, Lucy is a massive launch for the progression of science.
Even Ringo Starr, the famous Beatles drummer, is wishing Lucy well during the long mission ahead. He was one of many that were asked to add a message to the Lucy mission plaque.
Starr was the perfect person to do so. According to The Guardian, Johanson once shared that he was listening to the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky” when he found the remains. Starr made an appearance where he said, “Lucy is going back in the sky with diamonds.”
Other quotes come from all the other Beatles members, Albert Einstein, poet Joy Harjo, author Kazuo Ishiguro, Martin Luther King Jr., Brian May of Queen, Yoko Ono, Carl Sagan, and the poet who spoke at President Joe Biden’s inauguration, Amanda Gorman.