A NASA spacecraft will swing by Earth on Sunday


This Sunday, a spacecraft referred to as Lucy will be within the sky – simply with out diamonds.

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft will skirt Earth, coming inside only a few hundred miles of us on its journey to the far-off Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

The spacecraft will move 220 miles above Earth’s floor on Sunday morning, based on a information launch from NASA.

And some fortunate observers will have the ability to spot Lucy from Earth, says NASA.

The asteroid-hopping spacecraft will be seen from Western Australia at round 6:55 a.m. EST. But it’s going to move out of view after a couple of minutes. At 7:26 a.m. EST, it ought to be seen within the western United States – assuming the skies are clear and sky-gazers have a good pair of binoculars.

Coming so near the Earth will require the spacecraft to navigate an space dense with satellites and particles. NASA is implementing particular procedures to forestall Lucy from knocking into something on its journey.

“The Lucy crew has ready two completely different manoeuvres,” stated Coralie Adam, the crew chief for the Lucy deputy navigation crew from KinetX Aerospace, within the launch. “If the crew detects that Lucy is liable to colliding with a satellite tv for pc or piece of particles, then – 12 hours earlier than the closest strategy to Earth – the spacecraft will execute one among these, altering the time of closest strategy by both two or 4 seconds.

“This is a small correction, however it is sufficient to keep away from a probably catastrophic collision.”

The 12-year Lucy mission launched in October 2021. The mission’s aim is to discover the Trojan asteroid swarms that orbit Jupiter. The asteroids have by no means been immediately noticed earlier than; the picture above reveals an illustration of Lucy approaching one of many asteroids. But if all goes based on plan, Lucy will present the primary high-resolution photos of the asteroids.

The spacecraft will swing by Earth a complete of thrice throughout its mission. Coming into Earth’s orbit helps give Lucy a lift it must proceed on its path.

“The final time we noticed the spacecraft, it was being enclosed within the payload fairing in Florida,” stated Hal Levison, principal investigator for Lucy on the Southwest Research Institute’s Boulder, Colorado workplace, referring to a protecting nostril cone used throughout launches. “It is thrilling that we will have the ability to stand right here in Colorado and see the spacecraft once more.

“And this time Lucy will be within the sky.”


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