NASA’s Lucy spacecraft’s first asteroid target gets a surprising name

In October 2021, NASA’s spacecraft Lucy departed for its 12-year journey to ten different asteroids, centered on the Jupiter Trojans, a large group of planets orbiting Jupiter’s sun. . This is the first time NASA has flown a mission to study these distant asteroids. But before it reaches the Trojans, it will first travel to two asteroids in the central asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. And as it races to meet the first asteroid on its way, astronomers have finally given it a name. And it’s the most unexpected name ever given to an asteroid.

Discovered in 1999, this small asteroid has been named Duncanish. gave Word Amharic comes from the language spoken in Ethiopia, and means “you are wonderful”. This is the first time this asteroid is getting an official name. Before that, it only had the temporary designation of 1999 VD57, just like the millions of other asteroids in the belt. The asteroid is less than a kilometer wide and Lucy is expected to land on it in November 2023.

There is a reason for this name. The name comes from a fossilized Australopithecus afarensis skeleton discovered in Ethiopia in 1974, named Lucy and alternatively called Duncanish.

“This mission was named for Lucy because just like that Fossil “We expect this mission to revolutionize our understanding of the origin and evolution of our solar system,” said Lucy Project Scientist Keith Noel. Statement.

What does NASA’s Lucy spacecraft want to find?

It is believed that Trojan asteroids are actually remnants of the same material that formed the planets in an ancient and untouched state. This means that it Asteroid Fossils are basically our solar system and can reveal some important information that can tell us more about how the solar system originated.

“No other space mission in history has been launched to so many different destinations in independent orbits around our Sun. Lucy will show us for the first time the diversity of early planet-forming bodies,” NASA said. said In a statement

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