NASA’s Trojan Asteroid mission is one step closer to launch as the L’TES Thermal Emission Spectrometer has been successfully integrated into the spacecraft.
We’ve integrated two of the three main tools into the ship, which is exciting. The L’TES team is to be commended for their true dedication and determination.
Dona Douglas-Bradshaw, Project Manager Lucy at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
Lucy’s new mission will be the first to study Trojan asteroids. These asteroids are, technically, the remaining building blocks of the outer planets of the solar system, which revolve around the sun at a distance from Jupiter.
The mission takes its name from a fossilized human ancestor (named by its discoverer “Lucy”), these remains and skeleton that gave scientists an idea of the evolution of mankind. Likewise, Lucy’s mission is to globally update our knowledge of planetary origins and the history of the solar system.
The new L’TES technology, developed by a team from Arizona State University (ASU), is a remote thermometer. It will measure the far-infrared energy emitted by Trojan asteroids as spacecraft Lucy flies over seven of these unprecedented objects during this first-ever mission to this population.
The instrument was successfully integrated into the spacecraft on December 16. L’TES will measure the temperature of Trojan asteroids, based on this mono will learn about the properties of various surfaces.
Since the spacecraft will not be able to touch the asteroids during these high-speed collisions, the new tool will allow the team to draw inferences about the observed surfaces, such as whether the material is loose like sand or compacted like rocks. In addition, L’TES will collect spectral information using thermal infrared observations in the wavelength range of 4 to 50 micrometers.