NASA Lucy Mission to fly past Earth before going to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids

    NASA's Lucy Mission is about to make an Earth flyby on its way to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids. Here is all you need to know.

    By: HT TECH
    | Updated on: Oct 13 2022, 10:25 IST
    Joy! NASA’s asteroid mission achieved mission impossible, created history
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    1/6 Nasa’s DART was the first demonstration of the “kinetic impactor” method of asteroid mitigation. This was the first time, when humans altered the path of a celestial body purposefully. (AFP)
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    2/6 NASA chief Bill Nelson said, “All of us have a responsibility to protect our home planet. After all, it’s the only one we have. This mission shows that NASA is trying to be ready for whatever the universe throws at us.” He added that the US agency has proven that it can defend the planet. (via REUTERS)
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    3/6 Before the crash, asteroid Dimorphous took about 11 hours and 55 minutes to orbit the larger asteroid Didymos, whereas, post crash, it took only 11 hours and 23 minutes to orbit the larger asteroid. (via REUTERS)
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    4/6 DART impact has shortened the orbit by 32 minutes. None of these space rocks - Dimorphous as well as Didymos pose any threat to our planet, hence it was an ideal target to carry out the DART mission. At the time of collision, the DART spacecraft was traveling at 14000 (22,530-kmph) miles per hour. (via REUTERS)
    5/6 The DART team is currently measuring how efficiently the spacecraft transferred its momentum to the asteroid. “DART has given us some fascinating data about both asteroid properties and the effectiveness of a kinetic impactor as a planetary defense technology. The DART team is continuing to work on this rich dataset to fully understand this first planetary defense test of asteroid deflection,” said Nancy Chabot, the DART coordination lead at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory in a press statement. (via REUTERS)
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    6/6 Didymos, the larger asteroid of the binary pair is about a half mile (780 meters or 2559 feet) in diameter. The moonlet, Dimorphos, is about 525 feet (160 meters) in diameter. (via REUTERS)
    NASA's Lucy Mission
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    Know details about NASA's Lucy Mission Earth flyby on its way to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids. (NASA Solar System Twitter)

    NASA's Lucy Mission is about to make an Earth flyby on its way to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids and the flyby may be visible to some parts of the globe while it passes. You can join Reddit AMA with mission scientists and navigators to ask questions about the mission and know more about it today, October 13. "Our #LucyMission is about to make an Earth flyby on its way to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids, and may be visible to some parts of the globe while it passes. Join us for a @Reddit AMA with mission scientists and navigators on Oct. 13 from 1pm ET (1700 UTC).," NASA Solar System tweeted.

    "Later this week, NASA's Lucy mission to explore the Trojan asteroids is about fly past Earth in a gravity assist maneuver (that will actually be visible from some places on the ground!), and NASA would like to mark this milestone by hosting an AMA about Lucy and the Earth flyby with experts from NASA and our Lucy mission partners. A new post will go up here a few hours before the AMA begins, so stay tuned!," NASA posted on Reddit.

    What is NASA's Lucy Mission

    NASA's Lucy mission is the first spacecraft launched to explore the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive asteroids orbiting in tandem with Jupiter. The mission will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system's main asteroid belt, and by seven Trojan asteroids, according to the research organisation.

    According to NASA, the spacecraft is traveling at roughly 67,000 mph (108,000 kph) on a trajectory that will orbit the Sun and bring it back toward Earth in October 2022 for the spacecraft's first gravity assist. That maneuver will accelerate and direct Lucy's trajectory beyond the orbit of Mars. The spacecraft will then swing back toward Earth for another gravity assist in 2024, which will propel Lucy toward the Donaldjohanson asteroid – located within the solar system's main asteroid belt – in 2025.

    "Lucy will then journey toward its first Trojan asteroid encounter in the swarm ahead of Jupiter for a 2027 arrival. After completing its first four targeted flybys, the spacecraft will travel back to Earth for a third gravity boost in 2031, which will catapult it to the trailing swarm of Trojans for a 2033 encounter," NASA said.

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    First Published Date: 13 Oct, 10:12 IST
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