The Atlas V rocket, propelled by the ship, is scheduled to take off from Cape Canaveral on Saturday at 5.34 (9.34 GMT) local time.
This engine will be the first attempt to have solar power from the sun, and will see more asteroids than any other ship before it: eight in total.
Each of these meteorites “should provide a part of the history of our solar system, our history,” Thomas Surbuchen, director of the U.S. Space Agency’s science division, told a news conference.
Lucy spacecraft. Computer simulation. Photo by NASA
The spacecraft will first fly to an asteroid in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter by 2025. Then it will reach seven Trojan asteroids, the last two in 2033.
The largest of them is about 95 kilometers in diameter.
The spacecraft will approach selected objects at a distance of 400 to 950 km depending on their size and at a speed of about 24,000 km per hour.
The Trojan asteroids, about 7,000 known, are in two groups around the Sun, one before Jupiter and the other following it.
“One of the surprising things about Trojan asteroids, especially when it comes to color, is that they are very different: some gray, some red,” said Hall Lewison, the project’s lead researcher.
“We think these colors indicate where they came from.”
Researchers want to study their geography, composition and their exact density, mass and size.
The fossil of Australopithecus, discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, was named Lucy, which provided data on human evolution. NASA wants to clarify here the evolution of the solar system.
The researchers discovered the skeleton while listening to The Beatles’ song “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”.
The total cost of the project is $ 981 million.
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