NASA's Lucy mission launches and will swing past eight different asteroids ...

NASA's Lucy mission launches and will swing past eight different asteroids ...
NASA's Lucy mission launches and will swing past eight different asteroids ...

A nearly billion dollar NASA spacecraft named Lucy officially launched on Saturday morning, in what is the beginning of a 12-year journey to explore eight different asteroids. 

The spaceship will be the first to tour the so-called Trojan asteroids that orbit Jupiter and are 'time capsules from the birth of our Solar System,' according to NASA scientists from the Goddard Space Center in Greenbelt, Maryland

NASA says the Lucy space mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, giving insight into planetary evolution.

Lucy launched into orbit on Saturday at 5:34 am on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

The $981 million mission spaceship also carries a plaque that includes quotes from the likes of Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein and the Beatles.  

Lucy, pictured, launched into orbit on Saturday at 5:34 am on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

Lucy, pictured, launched into orbit on Saturday at 5:34 am on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida

The $981 million mission spaceship also carries a plaque that includes quotes from the likes of Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein and the Beatles

The $981 million mission spaceship also carries a plaque that includes quotes from the likes of Carl Sagan, Albert Einstein and the Beatles

Lucy will be the first to tour the so-called Trojan asteroids that orbit Jupiter and are 'time capsules from birth of our Solar System

Lucy will be the first to tour the so-called Trojan asteroids that orbit Jupiter and are 'time capsules from birth of our Solar System

As it happens, the mission takes its name from the fossilized human ancestor, named 'Lucy' by her discovers, whose skeleton provided unique insights into our evolution, as well as the song 'Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds' by aforementioned The Beatles.

In a prerecorded video for NASA, Beatles drummer Ringo Starr paid tribute to his late bandmate John Lennon, who wrote the song that helped inspire the ship's name. 

'I'm so excited — Lucy is going back in the sky with diamonds. Johnny will love that,' Starr said. 

'Anyway, if you meet anyone up there, Lucy, give them peace and love from me.'

On Thursday, Lucy, along with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, was rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41.

To make it work, NASA had to convert the booster, removing two solid rocket motors and replacing features designed to work with a crew capsule.

'I think overall it ended up in a situation that worked out really well,' ULA Chief Operating Officer John Elbon said of the change.

Thanks to the NASA team, Lucy was able to launch on Saturday morning as scheduled.

Now that it has launched, Lucy will fly around the Earth twice to adjust its trajectory and get it on its way to the outer parts of the solar system. 

Its first asteroid visit will be in April 2025, when it will take a look at a main-belt asteroid called DonaldJohanson, named after the paleoanthropologist behind the fossil Lucy discovery, Donald Johanson.

NASA says Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, giving insight into planetary evolution

NASA says Lucy mission will revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, giving insight into planetary evolution

On Thursday, Lucy, along with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, was rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41

On Thursday, Lucy, along with the United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket, was rolled out of the Vertical Integration Facility to the launch pad at Space Launch Complex 41

The Lucy spacecraft has solar panels on each side to help power its instruments and is 51.8 feet wide and over 46 feet from tip to tip

The Lucy spacecraft has solar panels on each side to help power its instruments and is 51.8 feet wide and over 46 feet from tip to tip

EIGHT ASTEROIDS TO BE VISITED BY LUCY 

Lucy will visit eight asteroids during its 12 year mission, starting with one in the main asteroid belt beyond Mars.

This is known as Donaldjohanson and will be visited in April 2025. 

Seven Trojan asteroids are named after characters from Greek mythology. 

They are Eurybates, Queta, Polymele, Leucus, Orus, Patroclus and Menoetius. 

Most of the mission's visits will occur in 2027 and 2028; its final planned flyby will take place in March 2033.

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Johanson said he had goose bumps watching Lucy

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