NASA has officially confirmed that they will be sending a mission to Trojan asteroids in the fall of 2021. Station “Lucy” will explore seven different celestial bodies at once.
NASA has approved the final phase of the mission, led by the Southwest Research Institute. According to the agency’s plans, the launch will take place in October 2021. Interplanetary station “Lucy” will go there.
The space agency approved the project following an independent review of the spacecraft, other flight schedules and NASA budget. Now researchers can design the spacecraft, introduce all the necessary devices into it and test them. In the summer of 2020, the device will be sent to NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida for integration with a launch vehicle.
“Each phase of the mission was more exciting than the last,” said researcher Hal Levinson. “Of course, there is still a lot of time and many billions of miles ahead, but we are happy to explore the Trojan asteroids about which we know so little.”
The task for the new interplanetary automatic station “Lucy” will be the study of seven different asteroids. After launching into space, the device will make two gravitational maneuvers near Earth, after which it will go to explore the main belt asteroid and four Trojan asteroids of Jupiter, it will reach them by 2027.
The researchers explained that they found such objects in almost all planets of the solar system. However, they are of great interest – it is believed that celestial bodies may have signs of organic matter and water ice.