Mandatory credit: NASA TV
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is set to launch from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida on Saturday, October 16, for a 12-year first-of-its-kind mission aiming to explore the earliest days of our solar system.
After blastoff, the spacecraft will make a journey to the outer solar system, where it will visit a number of Trojan asteroids that orbit in the same path as the planet Jupiter.
The clusters of Trojan asteroids are believed to be leftover raw materials that shaped the outer planets, namely, Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, which makes them somewhat the time capsules from the birth of the Solar System more than four billion years ago.
Over the course of its mission, Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, which will make it the first spacecraft ever to return to our planet’s vicinity from the outer solar system.