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Thread: NASA's Lucy mission to the trojans of Jupiter.

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    NASA's Lucy mission to the trojans of Jupiter.

    "NASA's mission to Jupiter's trojans given the green light for development"

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NA...pment_999.html

    NASA's mission to perform the first reconnaissance of the Trojans, a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter, has passed a critical milestone. NASA has given approval for the implementation and 2021 launch of the Lucy spacecraft.

    The confirmation review, formally known as "Key Decision Point C," authorized continuation of the project into the development phase and set its cost and schedule. The confirmation review panel approved the detailed plans, instrument suite, budget and risk factor analysis for the spacecraft.
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    If they find crystalline carbon in those primitive asteroids it would be Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds.
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    Space Daily carries an article on Lucy.

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NA...roids_999.html

    Not quite 4 million years ago, an ancient ancestor of modern humans roamed the land in what later would become the country of Ethiopia. Thirty-four years ago, Donald Johanson discovered the fossilized skeleton of this creature, later named Lucy, after the Beatles' 1967 hit "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."

    Three years from now, a spacecraft named Lucy, inspired by the famous fossil, will begin its exploration that could help determine the early history of the solar system.

    NASA's Lucy mission will fly by six of those trapped planetesimals - the Jupiter Trojan asteroids - giving humanity its first glimpse of these ancient objects. By studying these fossils of planet formation, the Lucy mission could reveal as much about the development of the solar system as the Lucy fossil did about human evolution. And on the way to the Trojans, Lucy will visit an asteroid that the team has named Donaldjohanson, after the anthropologist that discovered the fossilized skeleton of our ancestor.
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    It's not named for the Lucy who always wanted to hang out with the stars?

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    "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." -- its acronym is "LSD", and that acronym has long supported speculation that that Beatles song is a reference to lysergic acid diethylamide, that well-known hallucinogen.

    NASA's Lucy in the Sky with … Asteroids? | NASA
    Lucy's targets were selected to have a variety of surface types.
    One characteristic the Trojans have in common is that they are dark. “They only reflect four or five percent of the light that hits them,” said Noll. “That’s really dark. Black pavement on the road is far more reflective.”
    Much like Comet Churyumov-Gerasimenko. Their very dark color is likely due to organic material, likely much like the kerogen-like organic material in carbonaceous chondrites.
    The mission will carry four instruments in its payload: L’Ralph, consisting of MVIC (Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera), a multi-color imager, and LEISA (Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array), a spectrograph that will provide information on surface composition; L’LORRI (Long Range Reconnaissance Imager), a high-resolution camera; and L’TES (Thermal Emission Spectrometer), which will measure the surface temperatures of the Trojans. And in addition to the scientific instruments, Lucy’s communications (radio) and target acquisition system (TTCam) will contribute to the science mission.
    Tracking the spacecraft should enable measurement of the gravitational pulls of the asteroids that the spacecraft flies by, and thus their masses.

    Lucy: The First Mission to Jupiter’s Trojans | NASA
    Lucy will launch in October 2021 and, with boosts from Earth's gravity, will complete a 12-year journey to seven different asteroids — a Main Belt asteroid and six Trojans, the last two members of a “two-for-the-price-of-one” binary system. Lucy’s complex path will take it to both clusters of Trojans and give us our first close-up view of all three major types of bodies in the swarms (so-called C-, P- and D-types).

    The dark-red P- and D-type Trojans resemble those found in the Kuiper Belt of icy bodies that extends beyond the orbit of Neptune. The C-types are found mostly in the outer parts of the Main Belt of asteroids, between Mars and Jupiter. All of the Trojans are thought to be abundant in dark carbon compounds. Below an insulating blanket of dust, they are probably rich in water and other volatile substances.

    ...
    This diagram illustrates Lucy's orbital path. The spacecraft’s path (green) is shown in a frame of reference where Jupiter remains stationary, giving the trajectory its pretzel-like shape. After launch in October 2021, Lucy has two close Earth flybys before encountering its Trojan targets. In the L4 cloud Lucy will fly by (3548) Eurybates (white), (15094) Polymele (pink), (11351) Leucus (red), and (21900) Orus (red) from 2027-2028. After diving past Earth again Lucy will visit the L5 cloud and encounter the (617) Patroclus-Menoetius binary (pink) in 2033. As a bonus, in 2025 on the way to the L4, Lucy flies by a small Main Belt asteroid, (52246) Donaldjohanson (white), named for the discoverer of the Lucy fossil. After flying by the Patroclus-Menoetius binary in 2033, Lucy will continue cycling between the two Trojan clouds every six years.

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    How will Lucy get to its destination?

    https://www.popularmechanics.com/spa...roids-jupiter/

    In 2021, NASA will launch its Lucy mission to explore Jupiter's Trojan asteroids for the first time. Billions of years old, these asteroids serve as a time capsule for the earliest days of the solar system. Getting there will require some of the fanciest flying in the space agency's history and NASA has just started publicly discussing how Lucy will navigate its way through some of the oldest asteroids in the solar system.

    The challenge with planning a mission like Lucy is that solar system is constantly moving. Normally, scientists can plan out a clear-cut route with a large planetary body, like Mars or Earth's moon. But with the Trojan asteroids, which are comprised of two separate clouds, the spacecraft will have to navigate through multiple gravitational forces. Each of these gravitational forces will be moving in their own direction and will be threatening to take Lucy with them.

    "There are two ways to navigate a mission like Lucy,” says Jacob Englander, the optimization technical lead for the Lucy mission, in a press statement. “You can either burn an enormous amount of propellant and zig-zag your way around trying to find more targets, or you can look for an opportunity where they just all happen to line up perfectly.”
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    "Lucy has 1000 days to launch day"

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/Lu...h_day_999.html

    Sunday marked T-1000 days to the launch of NASA's Lucy Spacecraft, the first spacecraft to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. These asteroids, which lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit by roughly 60 degrees, hold vital clues to the history of the Solar System.

    Over its 4156 day mission, Lucy will study six of these fascinating worlds. Lucy's launch period opens on October 16, 2021 - 1000 days from today.

    "Lucy provides us with a unique opportunity," said Dr. Harold F. Levison, a program director and chief scientist in SwRI's Boulder office and the principal investigator of the mission.

    "Because the Trojans are remnants of the stuff that formed the outer planets, they are literally the fossils of planet formation. Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins."

    Lucy is over halfway to launch. It has been just over 1200 days since Lucy was selected as one of five mission concepts to receive funding to carry out preliminary mission design as part of NASA's Discovery program. And almost 750 days ago Lucy was selected for flight as the 13th Discovery mission.
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    "ULA wins contract to launch NASA’s Lucy mission to visit unexplored asteroids"

    https://spaceflightnow.com/2019/02/0...red-asteroids/

    NASA has selected United Launch Alliance’s Atlas 5 rocket to dispatch the Lucy spacecraft on a mission from Cape Canaveral in October 2021 to fly by seven unexplored asteroids, including six objects locked in orbits leading and trailing Jupiter, where scientists expect swarms of miniature worlds could hold clues about the formation of the solar system.

    The space agency announced the contract award to ULA on Thursday, extending the company’s history of launching prominent interplanetary missions, a list that includes still-operating probes such as the InSight and Curiosity landers to Mars, the Juno spacecraft orbiting Jupiter, New Horizons in the Kuiper Belt, and the OSIRIS-REx asteroid sample return mission.
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    "NASA's Lucy mission confirms discovery of Eurybates Satellite"

    http://www.spacedaily.com/reports/NA...llite_999.html

    NASA's Lucy mission team is seeing double after discovering that Eurybates, the asteroid the spacecraft has targeted for flyby in 2027, has a small satellite. This "bonus" science exploration opportunity for the project was discovered using images taken by the Hubble Space Telescope's Wide Field Camera 3 in September 2018, December 2019, and January 2020.

    Launching in October 2021, Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids, a population of small bodies orbiting the Sun "leading" and "trailing" Jupiter, at the same distance from the Sun as the gas giant. With flyby encounters past seven different asteroids - one in the Main Asteroid Belt and six in the Trojans, Lucy will be the first space mission in history to explore so many different destinations in independent orbits around our Sun.

    "This newly discovered satellite is more than 6,000 times fainter than Eurybates, implying a diameter less than 1 km," said Southwest Research Institute's Hal Levison, principal investigator of the mission. "If this estimate proves to be correct, it will be among the smallest asteroids visited."
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