With the NASA probe “Lucy”, a missile has set off for the first time to the asteroids of the planet Jupiter.
With the help of an “Atlas V” rocket, “Lucy” took off today from the Cape Canaveral spaceport in the US state of Florida, as announced by the US space agency NASA. Shortly afterwards, NASA tweeted, based on a Beatles song: “Lucy in the sky!” The mission is set to run for twelve years, and “Lucy” is expected to cover a total of 6.5 billion kilometers.
The more than 14-meter-long probe, which is powered by fuel and batteries that can be recharged via solar cells, is expected to fly close to seven of the Jupiter Trojans. These are asteroids that orbit the sun in the same orbit as Jupiter. They are considered “fossils of the formation of the planets”, which is why NASA hopes the mission will provide new insights into the formation of the planets and our solar system.
In addition, “Lucy” is to fly past an asteroid in the main belt between the planetary orbits of Mars and Jupiter and also return three times to the vicinity of the earth to get support for the flight through its gravity. The first asteroid flyby is scheduled for 2025, with the others scheduled for between 2027 and 2033.