National Aeronautics and Space Administration, NASA is getting set to launch a newly built robotic explorer into the solar system. The spacecraft, named Lucy is reportedly going to be without a crew when it embarks on its journey to explore some asteroids in and around Jupiter.
Lucy will be the first of such spacecrafts targeting these space rocks that have been largely unexplored up until now. And hopefully, studying them will tell us a thing or two about how our solar system came into being.
Lucy will be visiting the asteroids called the Jupiter Trojans, or sometimes simply referred to as the Trojans. They got their name after the first astronomer to calculate their distinct orbits, named them after the Trojan War. Meanwhile, they orbit the Sun exactly along the same path as Jupiter. And usually in that path, there’s a major cluster of these space rocks, charging ahead of Jupiter, with yet another group following behind.
The Trojans are expected to shed more light on everything
Considering the fact that no spacecraft has ever visited this space rocks before, there’s a whole lot of anxiety built up about studying the Trojans up close. Scientists are hoping as they will provide some hints as to how our celestial home materialized. And like other asteroids in our cosmic neighborhood, the Trojans are expected to be just as they are when they first formed some 4.5 billion years ago. So with that in mind, they may serve as infant pictures of the Solar System. Interestingly enough, there’s also a theory that Trojans actually formed from outside Jupiter’s orbit. If this is true, then the asteroids could explain how exactly it is, that those overlapping planets in our solar system did cross paths in those early years.
NASA is truly sending Lucy into the sky, but not with the “Diamonds” this time
Originally, Lucy’s name is coined from The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”. Now however, while NASA will truly be sending Lucy into the sky, the “diamonds” she will be visiting are like not what we expect. These Trojans, in their thousands, are clustered into two distinct groups around Jupiter. The group ahead of Jupiter in its orbit is called the “Greeks”. While the second group, the “Trojans,” is about 60 degrees behind Jupiter.