UCF rock expert plays key role in NASA’s Lucy mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids

BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. — In the countdown to the Lucy mission, Channel 9 went one-on-one with the University of Central Florida’s alien rock expert selected to work on NASA’s much-anticipated launch.


This week, Channel 9 caught up with UCF physicist and geologist Dan Britt at the Kennedy Space Center’s rocket guard.

Britt is among the throng of scientists ready to analyze data from the Lucy mission after its blast off from the Space Coast on Saturday.

Read: ULA’s Atlas V rocket arrives at Cape Canaveral ahead of this weekend’s Lucy mission launch

“We’ll come out with better understanding out of this one, but we’ll also come out with lots of better questions,” Britt told Channel 9′s Angela Jacobs.

This will be the fourth NASA mission for Britt, who in 2012 invented a way for the Mars rover to beam back pictures in vibrant color.

This time, he helps lead the science team to study what is collected from Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids on this first trip to this part of the solar system.

Read: Lucy mission launch set for Saturday, has 90% favorable weather conditions

“I’m around to try to plan observations and analyze data,” Britt said. “I lead the interior and bulk properties working group, which is mostly people who are trying to decide what these things are made of and how they’re structured from the measurements we do as we fly by.”

Britt currently leads the NASA-funded Center for Lunar and Asteroid Surface Science based at UCF.

Read: Kennedy Space Center to stay open late for overnight SpaceX Falcon 9 launch

He said this mission brings him an extraordinary sense of excitement.

“I think people should realize that this is quite the adventure, and this is an adventure that all of us can share in,” Britt said. “What can I say? This is a lot of fun.”

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