NASA launched a first-of-its-kind mission on Saturday, Oct. 16 to study Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids— two large clusters of space rock that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed our solar system’s outer planets.
The space probe, dubbed Lucy, was packed inside a special cargo capsule carried by the Atlas V rocket from United Launch Alliance, a joint venture of Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp.
Lucy is on a 12-year expedition to study a record number of asteroids and will be the first to explore the Trojans, thousands of rocky objects orbiting the sun in two swarms – one ahead of the path of the giant gas planet Jupiter and one behind it.
Scientists hope Lucy’s close-up fly-by of seven Trojans will yield new clues to how the solar system’s planets formed some 4.5 billion years ago
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