back to article NASA plans seven-year trip to Jupiter – can we come with you, please?

NASA has OKed two new missions to study some of the most interesting asteroids in our solar system, as part of its ongoing Discovery mission program. The first mission, named Lucy, will launch in October 2021 and will head off to the gas giant of Jupiter to explore its Trojan zones. These are two points on either side of the …

  1. Fizzle


    Blimey! Thought the guy in the video was Rolf Harris, had a bit of a shock at first!

    1. tr1ck5t3r

      Re: Rolf?

      Why do we believe the words of one or more people over others?

      I wasnt there and dont know the guy, but this youtube video suggests its Stanley Kubrick confessing before his death that he was asked by the US Govt to fake the moon landings.

      Just how hard would it be to keep these things covered up?

      Perhaps looking at the types employed in various Govt depts like the military, police & politicians are a clue to the types required to keep things secret from the public in order to keep giving the public HOPE!!!

      It seems sci-fi is the new quasi religion thats keeping up with technology, just like humans employed to convert the spoken word from AI agents in realtime to "train" AI's.

      A worthwhile film to watch for an alternative perspective.

      1. John H Woods Silver badge

        Re: Rolf?

        What do you mean by suggesting that Capricorn One is an "alternative perspective" --- it's not a documentary you know!

      2. Paul Smith

        Re: Rolf?

        If you want an alternative perspective, why not have a look at the Myth Busters take on it.

      3. Dave Hamrix

        Re: Rolf?

        Clearly one too many pints. Or bangs in the old noggin.

  2. Terje

    I'm quite sure that the arrival of Psyche will activate the automatic defence system that have lied dormant for aeons and will thus herald the arrival of our new alien overlords.

    1. hplasm

      Artifacts Express- opening soon in an orbit near you!

      All hail The Tnuctipun!

      1. ma1010

        Re: Artifacts Express- opening soon in an orbit near you!

        Just hope it's not a Thrint. You really would not want to wake it up. (See Larry Niven's World of Ptavvs.)

      2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Artifacts Express- opening soon in an orbit near you!

        "All hail The Tnuctipun!"

        Better than the Trumpipun! Hail to the Chef! bork! bork! bork!

      3. IanTP

        Re: Artifacts Express- opening soon in an orbit near you!

        Could be RAMA?

  3. Carl W

    Heading off to Jupiter?

    The Trojans are 60 degrees ahead and behind Jupiter in its orbit, so a *long* way from Jupiter.

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  5. tassiekev

    Crew members

    I'll go if Nigel does (just tell him there's free beer and that he can smoke).

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

      Re: Crew members

      Phew, for a moment, I thought you meant 'Nigel 350M per week Farage'.

      OTOH, it might be a good idea to send him and his pal Donald off on a long voyage preferably one way.

  6. John Smith 19 Gold badge

    That's a lump of metal (probably Nickel Iron) 200Km in diameter

    Scrap dealers will kill for that kind of deal.

  7. Peter Clarke 1

    Obligatory Film References

    Why is Psyche 16 so bright??? My God, its full of Stars!!!!

    HAL, deploy the Multi-spectral scanner.

    I'm sorry, Dave, I can't let you do that. Dayyyzee, Dayyzee ...

    1. BristolBachelor Gold badge

      Re: Obligatory Film References

      That's no asteroid - that's a ship

      and the reason that it's so bright is that the death star isn't finished yet and the workers have left all the site lighting turned on.

      1. dmck

        Re: Obligatory Film References

        Either a ship or spacesuit in a stasis field, hence the shine.

  8. Alister

    I wonder if it was a conscious nod to Arthur C Clarke to name one probe Lucy, after Jupiter became Lucifer in Odyssey 2.

    1. Dabooka

      Clue is in the article

      "Because the Trojans are remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, they hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system. Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins."

      And she was called Lucy due to some ditty by a popular-at-the-time four piece called The Beatles.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Clue is in the article

        Even better if they find some crystallized carbon deposits in the Trojans.

      2. Trigonoceps occipitalis

        Re: Clue is in the article

        I think the actual exchange was along the lines of:

        "Who are the Beatles?"

        "I believe they are a popular beat combo M'Lud."

    2. IanTP

      All these worlds are yours,

      Except Europa.

      Attempt no landing there....

      Mine's the one with a copy of 2010 in the pocket. Nice performance by the delectable Helen Mirren.

  9. Neil Barnes Silver badge

    Job advert?

    Wanted: liguist competent in Trailing Trojan Recent. Fyunch-click!

  10. Matthew Smith


    The obvious connection is with Clarke's 2061, where in the aftermath of Jupiter collapsing into a star, it spat out a solid carbon core: essentially a giant diamond, hence the mission to investigate it is Lucy after the obligatory Beatles song. I don't see why this nickel asteroid would have a high carbon/ diamond content.

    1. Dabooka

      Re: Lucy?

      Isn't it because Lucy was the 'beginning' of modern man so to speak (well, tool using at least) and they see the asteroids of the beginning of the planet formation?

      That's how I read it, rather than the Beatles link, although I too appreciate it is a rather tenuous link to origins.

      1. Swarthy

        Re: Lucy?

        Lucy is going to Jupiter's Trojans. Psyche is going to the large metal asteroid (named Psyche 16). Two missions, one article.

        The Trojans are made of the primordial stuff of the solar system, without much in the way of changing via pummeling, heating, irradiating, etc. Lucy is hoped to give us insight on the origins of the solar system, like Lucy the Preserved gave us great insight into the origins of modern humans. Lucy the Preserved was named after the Beatles' song, if I recall.

        Psyche 16 is presumed to be the exposed core of a broken planet(-oid?) that may tell us a lot about the earth's core, which we can't get to owing to geology.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Lucy?

      Meteoritic iron is usually <250ppm carbon, so I'd expect Psyche to follow suit and be carbon poor. It'll be interesting to see if it does differ markedly from meteoritic iron though which are almost exclusively iron/nickel alloy and if it instead more resembles the Earth's Core.

      We're pretty certain that the bulk of the Earth's Core is also iron/nickel, but its density is lower than we'd expect if pure alloy, so there must be other elements dissolved in the alloy. The best candidates are sulfur, oxygen or silicon. Various makeups have been suggested for the Core including 1% or so of FeO or up to 8% FeS. Perhaps Psyche will have a similar chemistry.

      And it is going to look astonishing, I'm hoping we'll see something like pallasite meteorites which must be some of the most beautiful geological specimens around (with prices to match):

  11. phuzz Silver badge


    Sounds metal as fsck \m/

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Psyche

      The outer layers weren't stripped off by " millennia of impacts from space debris." They were stripped off by millennia of righteous power chords and an amp that went all the way to 12.

      Come to think of it...maybe Psyche was the magnet for the Solar System's largest speaker. In the hazy days, long before there were mustaines or hammetts or hendricks, there was the first Metal God, Crunch. His strings made of light, his pick made of darkness, with an amp that took a blackhole to power. Rock on, Crunch.

      1. IanTP

        Re: Psyche

        Ah you must mean the last concert by Disaster Area....

  12. JJKing

    I don't see why this nickel asteroid would have a high carbon/ diamond content.

    Because Lucy In They Sky With Iron doesn't have the same catchy ring to it as Diamonds.

  13. Chris G

    I think they will find Psyche16 is a rounded off Borg cube, they are waiting for the human population to reach 10 billion as they are going for a Guinness assimilation record. The race should hit 10 billion about the same time as FB and twitter et al has melded the majority of the planet into one fatuous hive mind. The last words of the human race will be: Friend me! tweet tweet tweet!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Just think of what will happen if the Borgs assimilated Facebook and started to brag about their assimilations and implants, looking for other young Borgs 'to friend', while being bombed by ads about new implants and cube models, trips to new planets to assimilate, lots of gossip about the Queen, viral videos of cats, and fake news about the galaxy... I believe that's the virus Data planned to use on the captured Borg.

      But it was better the plan wasn't carried over. They underestimated the risk of a new Borg leader with an implant of hairs about which even LaForge can't tell the real color...

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Paris Hilton

    I'll pay someone to refer to Dr. Levison as "Trojan Man"

    Immature, but why not.

    "Trojan Maaaan!!"

  15. The Nameless Mist

    someone has to say it ...


    16 Psyche

    A metal moon

    Thats no moon .. its an asteroid.

  16. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Artist's impression?

    Wow, where did they find that artist, when most engineers have a better grasp of Photoshop and a CAD model or two? It looks like collage made by cutting out pictures from a Ladybird book, it is that naive.

    I quite like it for its novelty!

  17. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken
    1. Rich 11 Silver badge

      No. No you didn't.

    2. Chris G

      "Well, someone had to post it:"

      Will pouring bleach into my ears wipe that from my memory?

      I'm not sure I will ever recover fully after listening to that, compared to the Transformed Shatner,

      Klaus Nomi sounds almost normal.

  18. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

    16 Psyche....size of Mars

    So, now we know what happened to Mars' magnetic field. The Jovians stole their core!

    Of course, as a side effect, that's a lot of indoor real estate, making it hard for us to detect life on the outside.

  19. Timbo

    Different mission name?

    Shame they called the mission to Psyche, "Psyche".

    Given it's a "metal" asteroid (s'posedly) plus it's like a "rock", I'd have thought the mission might have been named "Lemmy" (after the now resting in piece (sic)) former frontman of Motorhead.

    With both Lemmy and Lucy heading off to the far reaches, that would give us two music based named missions.

  20. Aston McLeod

    Biggest metal ball? Surely not

    I thought that the core of Jupiter was solid Hydrogen. Surely this is an even bigger metal ball than some poxy rock

  21. MartinC

    Is there anything in Earth's Trojan points? Or, closer to home, anything in the moon's Trojan points? Actually, it might not be too hard to find out given a powerful telescope.

    1. IT Poser

      One has been discovered according to Wikipedia.

      "2010 TK7 has a diameter of about 300 meters (1,000 ft).[4] Its path oscillates about the Sun–Earth L4 Lagrangian point (60 degrees ahead of Earth), shuttling between its closest approach to Earth and its closest approach to the L3 point (180 degrees from Earth) about every 400 years.

      The asteroid was discovered in October 2010 by the NEOWISE team of astronomers using NASA's Wide-field Infrared Survey Explorer (WISE)."

      I'm guessing there are probably more, most likely smaller, rocks we haven't found yet.

  22. JCitizen

    Just pause for a moment...

    and imagine what violence it would take to strip the mantel Lithosphere and Asthenosphere from the iron core of a Mars size planet? It boggles the mind!

    To add to that, it would have to have been an older planet, because most planets in the solar system developing during this period would have been massive balls of lava. The only reason Earth is late in cooling off, is supposedly because of the Earth Moon collision around 4.5 billion years ago.

  23. Dave Hamrix

    Just think of the Diamonds that must be in the center of the metallic nougat.

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