NASA Launches Lucy!

  • The spacecraft Lucy was named after the fossilized skeleton of Australopithecus afarensis discovered in 1974. The skeleton Lucy, in turn, was named after the Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.
  • The first asteroid that Lucy will visit — 52246 Donaldjohanson — was named after one of the discoverers of the Lucy fossil.
  • After studying the Trojans at Jupiter’s L4, Lucy will come back to the Earth to receive a gravity assist. Thus, it will become the first spacecraft to return to the Earth’s vicinity from the outer Solar System.
  • Lucy carries a plaque containing information for our descendants. It includes the spacecraft’s launch date, the positions of the planets at the launch date, and quotes from famous people such as Albert Einstein, Carl Sagan, and John Lennon.

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