How Lucy Works
Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids are divided into two teams that flank the enormous planet because it orbits the Solar. To go to each teams, Lucy should fly to an elongated orbit around the Sun that roughly carries it between Earth and Jupiter.
After launching in 2021, Lucy will fly previous Earth twice to bend its trajectory. On the way in which out to the Trojan asteroids, the spacecraft will fly previous a bonus science goal in April 2025: principal belt asteroid DonaldJohnson, named after one of many co-discoverers of the Lucy fossil.
Lucy’s first journey out to Jupiter will carry it via the main swarm of Trojan asteroids collectively often called the Greek camp. The spacecraft will fly previous Eurybates and its moon Queta in August 2027, Polymele in September 2027, Leucus in April 2028, and Orus in November 2028.
Then, Lucy will fall again in direction of Earth earlier than whipping again out to Jupiter. On its second go to, Lucy will fly via the trailing swarm of Trojan asteroids. Confusingly, the trailing group is named the Trojan camp! On this journey, Lucy will go to Patroclus and companion asteroid Menoetius in March 2033.
This may full Lucy’s major mission. Nonetheless, the spacecraft will stay in a secure orbit between Earth and Jupiter, offering alternatives for an prolonged mission and extra asteroid visits.