The Lucy spacecraft of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) has launched to space to begin its 12-year mission to study Jupiter's Trojan Asteroids.
An Atlas V rocket launched the spacecraft to space at 5:34 a.m. EDT. The rocket carrying Lucy launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
It might be a surprise to many, but the Lucy spacecraft actually has a connection to the legendary group, The Beatles. Beatles fans probably know that the band has a song called "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds." That song plays a part in the name given to the spacecraft as well as the disc it is carrying with it for its mission.
NASA's Lucy Mission Launches to Space
💫 Lucy’s got some exploring to do.— NASA (@NASA) October 16, 2021
At 5:34am ET (9:34 UTC) on Oct. 16, our #LucyMission lifted off aboard a @ULALaunch Atlas V rocket. Now begins a 12-year journey to visit more asteroids than any other mission: https://t.co/iRKKvRs28J pic.twitter.com/85xb8aG3u6
NASA's Lucy spacecraft was launched to space at 5:34 a.m. EDT to begin its 12-year mission that will help scientists understand how the solar system came to be. The Atlas V rocket carrying the spacecraft launched from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida.
According to a report by Space, Lucy was able to deploy its solar arrays two hours after launch and "successfully phoned home."
Per a report by KSAT, the spacecraft is named after the 3.2 million-year-old skeletal remains of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia nearly a half-century ago."
The Beatles Connection
The KSAT report further states that "That discovery got its name from the 1967 Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds," prompting NASA to send the spacecraft soaring with band members' lyrics and other luminaries' words of wisdom imprinted on a plaque."
Lucy is actually carrying a disc made of diamonds grown in the lab.
Beatles legend Ringo Starr actually recorded a message for NASA in relation to his group's connection with the spacecraft.
"I'm so excited - Lucy is going back in the sky with diamonds. Johnny will love that," Starr said in the video, as quoted by the KSAT report. The "Johnny" the Beatles drummer is referring to is the late John Lennon, who wrote, "Lucky in the Sky with Diamonds."
"Anyway, if you meet anyone up there, Lucy, give them peace and love from me," Starr added.
What is the Lucy Spacecraft's Mission?
With its launch, the Lucy spacecraft has started its 12-year mission that involves studying asteroids that orbit ahead of the planet Jupiter or after it.
Lucy, which the Space report describes as a "robotic archeologist," will be studying a total of eight asteroids. Seven of these asteroids are known as Trojan asteroids. The spacecraft will look into the geology, composition, structure, and even the density of these Trojans.
Before studying the eight asteroids, Lucy will have to do two Earth flybys to build up its momentum. The spacecraft's first asteroid flyby is scheduled to take place in April 2025.
However, the first Trojan asteroid flyby will only take place in August 2027, which is six years after Lucy's launch. The last flyby for Lucy will happen in March 2033.
This article is owned by Tech Times
Written by Isabella James