June 12, 2024

Trojan asteroids

  • Recently, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft first time caught a glimpse of the Jupiter and Trojan asteroids.

About Trojan asteroids:

  • These are mysterious space rocks which have been gravitationally trapped in Jupiter’s orbit around the Sun for billions of years.
  • These are thought to be remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets.
  • They orbit the Sun in two loose groups, with one group leading ahead of Jupiter in its path, and the other trailing behind.
  • They are clustered around the two Lagrange points equidistant from the Sun and Jupiter, the Trojans are stabilized by the Sun and its largest planet in a gravitational balancing act.

About Lucy Mission

  • It was launched by NASA from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in 2021.
  • It is a 12-year mission which will take close observations of nine of Jupiter’s Trojans and two main belt asteroids along with that.
  • It is the first spacecraft sent to study the Trojan asteroids, which orbit the Sun in the same path that the planet Jupiter takes.
  • It has recently captured the images of Eurybates, Polymele, Leucus and  Leucus asteroids.
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