NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft Passes First of 10 Asteroids on Trip to Jupiter Written 2 November 2023


Artist’s concept depicts the Lucy spacecraft flying past the Trojan asteroid (617) Patroclus and its binary companion Menoetius. | Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center/Conceptual Image Lab/Adriana Gutierrez; Wikipedia; Public Domain

AP reports that on Wednesday, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft “encountered the first of 10 asteroids on its long journey to Jupiter.” The spacecraft “swooped past the pint-sized Dinkinesh, about 300 million miles (480 million kilometers) away in the main asteroid belt beyond Mars.” It was “a quick hello,” according to NASA, “with the spacecraft zooming by at 10,000 mph (16,000 kph).” Lucy came “within 270 miles (435 kilometers) of Dinkinesh, testing its instruments in a dry run for the bigger and more alluring asteroids ahead.” Dinkinesh is “just a half-mile (1 kilometer) across, quite possibly the smallest of the space rocks on Lucy’s tour.” Lucy’s main targets “are the so-called Trojans, swarms of unexplored asteroids out near Jupiter that are considered to be time capsules from the dawn of the solar system.” The spacecraft “will swing past eight Trojans believed to be up to 10 to 100 times bigger than Dinkinesh.” It’s due to “zip past the final two asteroids in 2033.”
Full Story (Associated Press)