Watch 12-Yr Asteroid Mission Begins This Weekend – Google Science News

Watch 12-Yr Asteroid Mission Begins This Weekend – Google Science News

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(Newser)

Consideration asteroid aficionados: NASA is ready to launch a collection of spacecraft to go to and even bash a few of the photo voltaic system’s most fascinating area rocks. A robotic trailblazer named Lucy is up first, blasting off this weekend on a 12-year cruise to swarms of asteroids close to Jupiter—unexplored time capsules from the daybreak of the photo voltaic system, per the AP. The $981 million mission, the primary to Jupiter’s so-called Trojan entourage, is concentrating on an unprecedented eight asteroids. Liftoff is scheduled for Saturday. Others on deck:

  • Barely a month after Lucy’s launch, an impactor spacecraft named Dart will give chase to a double-asteroid nearer to residence. The mission will finish with Dart ramming the primary asteroid’s moonlet to alter its orbit, a take a look at that would in the future save Earth from an incoming rock.
  • Subsequent summer season, a spacecraft will launch to a uncommon steel world—a nickel and iron asteroid that is likely to be the uncovered core of a once-upon-a-time planet. A pair of smaller companion craft—the dimensions of suitcases—will peel away to a different set of double asteroids.
  • And in 2023, an area capsule will parachute into the Utah desert with NASA’s first samples of an asteroid, collected final 12 months by the excavating robotic Osiris-Rex. The samples are from Bennu, a rubble and boulder-strewn rock that would endanger Earth a pair centuries from now.
  • Extra on the missions right here.

(Learn extra space exploration tales.)

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