Illustration of Lucy at an asteroid

An illustration of the Lucy spacecraft near a Trojan asteroid. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Goals NASA's Lucy mission will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system’s main asteroid belt, and by seven Trojan asteroids.
Proposed Launch No earlier than Oct. 16, 2021
Science Targets Jupiter Trojans, Asteroids
Type Multiple Flyby
Agency NASA
Mission Website Lucy
Lucy loaded onto a transport plane
NASA's Lucy spacecraft is unloaded on the runway of the Launch and Landing Facility at Kennedy Space Center in Florida on July 30, 2021. Credits: NASA/Kim Shiflett

About Lucy

Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Trojan asteroids. Trojans are small bodies that are remnants of our early solar system. They orbit the Sun in two loose groups: one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its orbit, the other trailing behind.

During its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one main belt asteroid, and seven Trojans.

No other space mission in history has been launched to as many different destinations in independent orbits around our Sun.

Lucy Orbit
This diagram illustrates Lucy's orbital path. The spacecraft’s path (green) is shown in a frame of reference where Jupiter remains stationary, giving the trajectory its pretzel-like shape. Credit: Southwest Research Institute

Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than Oct. 16, 2021, on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex-41 on Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Lucy's Journey - Episode 1: Launch. Meet Lucy as she prepares for the first mission to the Trojan asteroids, a population of primitive small bodies orbiting in tandem with Jupiter.

The Lucy mission is named after the fossilized skeleton of an early hominin (pre-human ancestor) discovered in Ethiopia in 1974 and named “Lucy” by the team of paleoanthropologists who discovered it.

Just as the Lucy fossil provided unique insights into humanity’s evolution, the Lucy mission promises to revolutionize our knowledge of planetary origins and the formation of the solar system, including Earth.


More About Lucy

Related News