An Atlas V rocket was launched from Cape Canaveral in Florida today, launching the American spacecraft Lucy into space.
Lucy heads for the asteroids accompanying the planet Jupiter in orbit around the Sun. Its mission is to last 12 years and to contribute to the understanding of the formation of our solar system.
The rocket took off at 11:34 CEST and Lucy is set to be the first solar energy probe to move so far from the Sun. Its 12-year mission is set to cost $ 981 million.
“Each of the observed asteroids will publish part of the history of our solar system, our history,” Thomas Zurbuchen, director of NASA’s science division, told a news conference.
Lucy is supposed to be above the first of the asteroids in 2025, and then arrive at the last two in 2033. The largest of them measures an average of 95 kilometers. It is close to them at a distance of 400 to 950 kilometers at a speed of 24,000 kilometers per hour.Read also The first Slovak electronic computer component is now 65 years old
The AFP agency wrote that there are about 7,000 Trojans, as the asteroids orbiting Jupiter are called. They orbit the Sun in two groups, one in front of and the other behind Jupiter.
“What is most surprising about the Trojans is how they differ from each other, especially in color – some are gray, others red. We think that color indicates where they come from, “said Hal Levison, the mission’s chief researcher. His group wants to study the geological composition of asteroids, the exact volume and density of matter that make them up.
The probe was named after the skeletal finding of a female Australopithecus in Ethiopia in 1974. Those who found it were listening to a Beatles song Lucy in the sky with diamonds at the time.
“We’ll put a diamond on Lucy,” Phil Christensen, who controls one of Lucy’s diamond-mounted devices, said before the probe was launched. It will measure infrared light, which will determine the temperature on the surface of asteroids. “We will compare measurements made during the day and at night, so we can determine if the surface is made of stone or fine dust and sand,” Christensen said. The stone in the dark is colder slower than the sand.
Source: Pravda – Veda a technika by vat.pravda.sk.
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