The spacecraft, which was on a mission to study asteroids, successfully made contact with NASA following a speedy encounter with an asteroid on Wednesday.
The spacecraft, named Lucy
The main goal of the mission is to study a group of asteroids known as Jupiter’s Trojans, which are caught in the orbit of the gas giant. The spacecraft recently had a fast encounter with a small asteroid in the main asteroid belt, referred to as Dinkinesh by NASA. This flyby also allowed for testing of Lucy’s terminal tracking system, according to a press release from NASA.
After receiving a communication from Lucy, NASA has determined that the spacecraft is functioning well and has instructed it to transmit data collected during the encounter to scientists. According to a statement released by NASA outlining the mission, this procedure will last approximately seven days and will provide insight into Lucy’s performance during the encounter.
In 2021, Lucy embarked on a 12-year journey to investigate eight asteroids in outer space.
The name of the spaceship was inspired by the discovery of a 3.2 million-year-old ancient human fossil in Ethiopia, known as “Lucy,” which was named after the popular Beatles song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” from 1967. As a result, NASA included lyrics from the song and quotes from other notable figures on a plaque that was sent into space with the spacecraft, according to the Associated Press.reported
The spacecraft also transported a disk composed of laboratory-created diamonds to be used in one of its scientific instruments.