back to article Saturday start for NASA's Lucy probe on its 12-year quest to map Jupiter's Trojan asteroids

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is set to embark on its 12-year tour, traveling almost four billion miles, to visit eight asteroids near Jupiter during its mission to reveal the Solar System’s origins. The 14-meter probe is due to launch on Saturday 16 October at 0934 (UTC) atop Lockheed Martin’s Atlas V rocket from the Cape Canaveral …

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  2. DarkwavePunk

    Fun factoid

    As mentioned in the article the Lucy mission was named after the famous fossil, but that in turn was named after the song Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds. One of the imaging devices on the probe has a beam-splitter made from a large man-made diamond. Cute.

    1. ThatOne Silver badge

      Re: Fun factoid

      And so, Lucy will be in the sky with (at least one) diamond...

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Fun factoid


  3. Christoph

    Near Jupiter?

    "to visit eight asteroids near Jupiter"

    The Trojans are at the L4 & L5 points 60 degrees ahead and behind Jupiter in its orbit. So they are as far from Jupiter as Jupiter is from the Sun.

    1. DarkwavePunk

      Re: Near Jupiter?

      Erm, Jupiter has has a bit of mass of its own.... Inverse square law and all that clever-clogs gravity whatsits.

    2. bombastic bob Silver badge

      Re: Near Jupiter?

      you do have a point (geometrically), though being part of the orbital system of Jupiter might (in some vague way) make them "near". Is there a better adjective for "a member of the orbital system" ??

      (Greeks and Trojans for now I guess)

      still kinda fun that the gravity depressions caused by Jupiter's L4 and L5 attract so many natural objects, many with (apparently) stable orbits. Well, we'll know for sure within the next decade or so.

      I bet if you wanted a really cool space telescope you could do one at Earth's L4 or L5 if it has not already been done. Stable orbit and no nearby planets or moons to occlude or out-shine things, direct line of site for radio comms.

      1. Richard 12 Silver badge

        Re: Near Jupiter?

        The main reason for going there is that the Jupiter L4/5 don't attract objects.

        Nothing enters or leaves those zones. It's not possible for new things to get captured, or those already captured to leave - aside from via collisions.

        So everything there has been there for a very long time, which makes them very, very interesting.

  4. Neil Barnes Silver badge


    The Trailing Trojans are documented to be full of Moties!

    1. SusiW

      Re: Beware!

      @Neil Barnes

      Much kudos (and a beer!) for mentioning my favourite characters from Larry & Jerry's God's Eye books.

      Damnit! I'm going to have to read them again now!


      1. Graham Cunningham

        Re: Beware!

        Wait, "books"? I only read The Mote in God's Eye.

        Wikipedia to the rescue, it seems "The Gripping Hand" is what I'm missing?

    2. Santa from Exeter

      Re: Beware!

      That's okay, they'll see Lucy and know that Crazy Eddie is up to his old tricks.

      1. bombastic bob Silver badge

        Re: Beware!

        Crazy Eddie - didn't he used to sell electronics in New York City back in the 80's ?

        (he was in the movie 'Splash' as well)

        Luuucyyyy - I'm HOME!!! Ayayayayayay... (I used to watch those re-runs when I was a kid)

  5. Neoc

    Shall we lose another planet

    "...asteroids that share the same orbit as Jupiter by its interaction with the Sun's gravity"

    Shouldn't Jupiter be stripped of it's "planet" status? It certainly hasn't <quote>“cleared the neighborhood” around its orbit<end quote> if there are still all those asteroids IN its orbit.

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