On October 25, NASA shared a photo of the Earth of the Lucy spacecraft on its journey to ancient asteroids.
Image of Earth alone in the black background of the universe. Photo: NASA
NASA’s Lucy spacecraft photographed Earth from afar on October 15, 2022, during instrument calibration sequence at a distance of 620,000 km. In the black and white image, the Earth stands out with its marble-like clouds, which contrast against the black background of the universe. The upper-left half of the photo includes an image of Hadar, Ethiopia, home of the 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor fossils for which the spacecraft is named, NASA said.
Lucy was the first mission to discover Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids, a group of ancient celestial bodies orbiting the Sun at a distance similar to Jupiter. To reach these asteroids, the Lucy spacecraft’s flight path includes three borrowings of Earth’s gravity to accelerate the journey.
Image taken with Lucy’s Terminal Tracking Camera (T2CAM), the same pair of cameras responsible for tracking the asteroid during high-speed passes. The T2CAM system was designed, engineered and tested by Malin Space Science Systems. Lockheed Martin installs T2CAMs on board Lucy and is in charge of operations.
On October 13, 2022, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft also took pictures of the Earth and Moon from a distance of 1.4 million km. The Earth flyovers provided the ship with the speed needed to reach the Trojan asteroid. The Lucy spacecraft launches in late 2021. During its 12-year journey, the Lucy spacecraft will fly by a record number of asteroids and survey their diversity, looking for clues to better understand how the solar system formed. .