HomeSpaceNASA provides asteroid flyby to Lucy mission

NASA provides asteroid flyby to Lucy mission

WASHINGTON — NASA has added one other asteroid flyby to its Lucy mission later this 12 months that may present a take a look at of its capabilities for future encounters.

NASA introduced Jan. 25 that the spacecraft will fly by the small main-belt asteroid 1999 VD57 on Nov. 1. The undertaking chosen that asteroid after one scientist collaborating on the mission, Raphael Marschall of France’s Good Observatory, in contrast the spacecraft’s trajectory to the orbits of 500,000 asteroids.

Lucy’s present trajectory will take the spacecraft as shut at 64,000 kilometers to the asteroid. The spacecraft will carry out a sequence of maneuvers beginning in Might to regulate its trajectory so that it’s going to as an alternative go 450 kilometers from the asteroid.

Hal Levison, principal investigator for Lucy on the Southwest Analysis Institute, stated at a Jan. 25 assembly of NASA’s Small Our bodies Evaluation Group that the mission workforce has given 1999 VD57 the provisional title of Dinkinesh. That’s the Ethiopian title for the Lucy fossil after which the NASA mission is known as. The title is pending formal approval by the Worldwide Astronomical Union.

Dinkinesh is a S-type asteroid, he stated, with a diameter of not more than 800 meters and comparable in measurement to Bennu, the close to Earth asteroid visited by NASA’s OSIRIS-REx mission. It might be the smallest main-belt asteroid {that a} spacecraft has flown by.

Whereas the flyby will acquire photos and different knowledge in regards to the asteroid, that isn’t the first motive for the shut method. “This can be a threat mitigation train,” Levison stated, specializing in the “terminal monitoring system” the spacecraft will use to lock on to the asteroid because it approaches, maximizing the info its devices acquire.

That system has some heritage from previous missions however has by no means been examined in house earlier than. “We determined that it’s helpful to check it out as quickly as we are able to,” he stated.

The flyby of Dinkinesh is along with one other main-belt asteroid, 52246 Donaldjohanson, that it’s going to fly by in 2025. Lucy will then fly by a number of Trojan asteroids at Jupiter’s distance from the solar between 2027 and 2033.

The Dinkinesh flyby will even take a look at how nicely it may well level at a goal on condition that one in all its two massive round photo voltaic arrays has not latched into place. “We’re not precisely positive, on condition that the photo voltaic array will not be latched, of the pointing stability traits of the spacecraft, so this will even assist us decide that,” he stated.

NASA introduced Jan. 19 that it was suspending efforts to totally deploy that photo voltaic array after the newest deployment try in December confirmed solely “minimal ranges” of progress. The array, the company stated, was almost totally deployed and seemed to be steady, however didn’t rule out further efforts to lock it into place late subsequent 12 months, when the spacecraft makes one other Earth flyby.

Levison stated that, within the December try, there have been indicators that the array was tensioning, which he stated was a constructive signal. “It makes us actually fairly assured that it’s protected to fly the mission as-is,” he stated.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Most Popular

Recent Comments