A NASA spacecraft will swing by Earth

A NASA spacecraft will swing by Earth


This Sunday, a spacecraft called Lucy will be in the sky — just without the diamonds.

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft Skirting Earth, the distant Jupiter Trojan asteroid is coming within just a few hundred miles of us.

The spacecraft will pass 220 miles above Earth’s surface on Sunday morning. According to a news release from NASA.

And some lucky observers will be able to see Lucy from Earth, NASA said.

The asteroid-hopping spacecraft will be visible from Western Australia at about 6:55 AM EST. But it will go out of view in few minutes. At 7:26 AM EST, it should be visible in the western United States—assuming skies are clear and sky-watchers have a decent pair of binoculars.

Getting this close to Earth would require the spacecraft to navigate an area dense with satellites and debris. NASA is implementing special procedures to ensure that Lucy does not hit anything on her journey.

“The Lucy team developed two different strategies,” said Coralie Adam, Lucy deputy navigation team team leader from Kinetics Aerospace. “If the team detects that Lucy is at risk of collision with a satellite or debris, then – 12 hours before the closest approach to Earth – the spacecraft will execute one of these, changing the time of the closest approach by two or four seconds.

“It’s a small correction, but it’s enough to avoid a potentially catastrophic collision.”

The 12-year Lucy mission was launched in October 2021. The mission aims to explore the Trojan asteroid swarm that orbits Jupiter. Asteroids have never been seen directly before; The image above shows an image of Lucy approaching an asteroid. But if all goes according to plan, Lucy will provide the first high-resolution images of asteroids.

The spacecraft will swing by Earth a total of three times during its mission. Arriving in Earth’s orbit helps Lucy continue on her path.

“The last time we saw the spacecraft, it was encased in a payload fairing in Florida,” said Hal Levison, Lucy’s principal investigator at the Southwest Research Institute’s Boulder, Colorado office, referring to a protective nose cone used during launch. “It’s exciting that we’ll be able to see the spacecraft again while standing here in Colorado.

“And this time Lucy will be in the sky.”

#NASA #spacecraft #swing #Earth

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button