The US National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) on Saturday launched the first of its kind mission to study Trojan asteroids around Jupiter, two large groups of space rocks that scientists believe are the remnants of basic materials from which the outer planets in the solar system formed.
NASA said that the space probe (Lucy), which is housed in a special cargo capsule, took off from Cape Canaveral Air Force Base in Florida at 5:34 (0934 GMT) aboard the Atlas 5 rocket from the United Launch Alliance, a joint venture between the two Boeing companies. Lockheed Martin.
Lucy is expected to remain in space on a 12-year mission to study a record number of asteroids. It will be the first probe to study Trojan asteroids, which are thousands of pieces of rock that revolve around the sun in two groups, one in front of Jupiter’s path and the other behind it.
The largest known Trojan asteroid has a diameter of 225 km.
Scientists hope that the Lucy probe’s flyby of seven Trojan asteroids will provide new explanations for how the planets of the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago and what shaped their current pattern.
NASA said asteroids, which are believed to be rich in carbon, may also provide new explanations for the origins of organic matter and life on Earth.
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