Lucy Took This Image of Earth because it was Making its Gravity Help Maneuver


We could take it with no consideration, however day-after-day we obtain image postcards from the robotic vacationers we’ve got despatched out to discover our Photo voltaic System. Normally, we get to see faraway planets, moons, asteroids, or comets. However generally we get to see ourselves.

The Lucy spacecraft took a few superb photos of our residence planet because the spacecraft was approaching Earth for the primary of three slingshot gravity assists on its approach out to discover the Trojan asteroids alongside Jupiter’s orbit.

The primary picture, above was taken on October 15, 2022 from a distance of 620,000 km (380,000 miles) by Lucy’s Terminal Monitoring Digital camera (T2CAM) system, a pair of an identical cameras which are liable for monitoring the asteroids throughout Lucy’s excessive velocity flybys when it reaches Jupiter’s orbit. The flyby had Lucy coming nearer to Earth than many Earth orbiting satellites, together with the Worldwide Area Station. It was shut sufficient that observers in Western Australia have been in a position to observe Lucy from the bottom on October 16th.

The second photograph, under, exhibits each Earth and the Moon and was taken on October 13, 2022 as Lucy approached Earth, from 1.4 km (890,000 miles). You’ll must look carefully to see the Moon, because the Moon is much less reflective than the brighter and greater Earth. Each photos have been taken as a part of an instrument calibration sequence.

On October 13, 2022, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this picture of the Earth and the Moon from a distance of 890,000 miles (1.4 million km). Credit score: NASA/Goddard/SwRI

Lucy launched on October 19 of final yr, and so is at present one yr into its twelve-year voyage. This gravity help will place Lucy on a two yr orbit, at which period it can return to Earth for a second gravity help. That second help will give Lucy the power it must cross the primary asteroid belt and observe the asteroid DonaldJohanson, and journey into the main Trojan asteroid swarm. There Lucy will fly previous six Trojan asteroids: Eurybates and its satellite tv for pc Queta, Polymele and its but unnamed satellite tv for pc, Leucus, and Orus. After that tour, Lucy will return to Earth for a 3rd gravity help in 2030 to extend the spacecraft’s inclination for the ultimate rendezvous with the binary asteroid pair Patroclus/Menoetius. This can be a record-breaking tour for a single spacecraft, visiting 9 asteroids.

The mission is called after the Lucy hominin fossils, and the view of Earth within the first picture features a view of Hadar, Ethiopia, the place the three.2 million-year-old human ancestor fossil was discovered. The identify Lucy was chosen as a result of research of the trojans might reveal the “fossils” of planet formation, the supplies that clumped collectively within the early historical past of the Photo voltaic System to type planets and different our bodies.

You’ll be able to see bigger variations of the photographs from NASA.

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