Lucy will take black-and-white and color pictures and use a diamond beam splitter to illuminate far-infrared light on asteroids so they can take their temperature and map their surfaces. It will also collect other measurements as it flies. This information can help scientists understand how planets can be formed.
Sarah Dodson-Robinson, an assistant professor of physics and astronomy at the University of Delaware, said Lucy could not just give a specific timeline. When The planets were originally formed, however Where.
“If you can break nails while creating Trojan asteroids, you have some information about when Jupiter was formed and ‘Where did Jupiter go in the solar system?’ “Because it wasn’t always where it is now. It has moved around.”
And to determine the age of the asteroid, the spacecraft will look for holes in the surface that cannot be larger than a football field.
“[The Trojans] Unlike other asteroids around us, it didn’t collide and break as much, “said Dodson-Robinson. “We could possibly see some of these asteroids as they were shortly after formation.”
In her 4 billion mile journey, Lucy will receive three gravitational aids from Earth that use the planet’s gravitational force without changing the orbit of the spacecraft without reducing its resources. Coralie Adam, head of the Lucy mission’s deputy navigation team, said each push would increase the spacecraft’s speed from 200 miles per hour to 11,000 miles per hour.
During an engineering media briefing on October 1, Adam said, “If this Earth’s gravity weren’t there to help, it would take five times as much fuel – or three metric tons – to reach Lucy’s goal, which would make the mission impossible.”
Lucy’s mission is due to end in 2033, but some NASA officials are already confident that the spacecraft will last longer. “The ship will have a good amount of fuel,” Adam said. “After the final encounter with the binary asteroids, as long as the spacecraft is healthy, we plan to offer NASA an extended mission and explore more Trojans.”