And if all goes according to plan, Lucy will remain in space on a 12-year mission to study a record number of asteroids. It will first study the Trojan asteroids, which are thousands of pieces of rock that revolve around the sun in two groups, one in front of Jupiter’s path and the other behind it.
The largest known Trojan asteroid has a diameter of 225 km.
Scientists hope that the Lucy probe’s flyby of seven Trojan asteroids will provide new explanations for how the planets of the solar system formed about 4.5 billion years ago and what shaped their current pattern.
Reuters quoted NASA as saying that asteroids, which are believed to be rich in carbon, may also provide new explanations for the origins of organic matter and life on Earth.