CAPE CANAVERAL, Fla. — NASA’s Lucy mission is on its way into space Saturday morning.
The Lucy spacecraft blasted off atop a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket early Saturday.
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The Atlas V took off at 5:34 a.m. from Space Launch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
The mission will study the Trojan Asteroids around Jupiter and is expected to last 12 years.
MISSION SUCCESS! ULA’s #AtlasV has deployed the #LucyMission on the first ever exploration of the Trojan asteroid swarms near Jupiter. Success #146 for ULA! Thank you to our customers for the trust they place in us! https://t.co/zLOOgArsPG pic.twitter.com/tDzIoTEhE2— ULA (@ulalaunch) October 16, 2021
Lucy will fly by seven of the Trojan Asteroids and one in the solar system’s main asteroid belt.
NASA said no other space craft have attempted this many destinations before.
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The spacecraft was named after one of the most well-known human ancestor fossils.
The research gained from this mission is expected to help scientists learn more about planetary origins and how our solar system formed.
💫 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
University of Central Florida physicist and geologist Dan Britt is playing a key role in making sure that happens.
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For his fourth NASA mission the rock expert will plan observations and analyze the data the spacecraft gathers.
The #LucyMission spacecraft has successfully deployed its solar panels, and now its epic journey to Jupiter's Trojan asteroids is officially underway.— NASA Solar System (@NASASolarSystem) October 16, 2021
Fair winds and following seas, Lucy.https://t.co/zGhaDFUFK6 pic.twitter.com/dnxQYrfg56
“I lead the interior of both working groups which is mostly people trying to decide what these things are made of and how they’re structured in the measurements we do as they fly by,” Britt said.
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The total cost of the mission is estimated to be more than $980 dollars.
As the #LucyMission carries her own time capsule to the Trojan asteroids over the next 12 years, we encourage you to put together a time capsule of your own with messages to yourself & tokens from the current era. Share it w/ the hashtag #LucyTimeCapsule: https://t.co/9m91f6Diyk pic.twitter.com/IojRFqiedg— NASA (@NASA) October 16, 2021
The mission is expected to last 12 years and return to Earth in March 2033.
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