“Eagle Eyes” – First Scientific Instrument Installed on NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft

Lucy Spacecraft at Trojan Asteroid

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Artist’s idea of Lucy spacecraft at Trojan asteroid. Credit: NASA

Before the NASA Lucy objective can start its long journey to the Trojan asteroids, the very first clinical video camera to be provided to the spacecraft needed to take a 1,500 mile journey throughout the continental United States.

The Lucy LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager (L’LORRI) took a trip from the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory (APL), in Laurel, Maryland, where it was developed and evaluated, to Lockheed Martin Space, in Littleton, Colorado, where the spacecraft is being put together. It was gotten securely at Lockheed Martin on October 25 and was effectively incorporated onto the spacecraft on October 30, 2020.

Engineers Prepare Lucy LOng Range Reconnaissance Imager

Engineers at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory, Laurel, MD, preparing the L’LORRI instrument for optical calibration tests. Credit: NASA/JHU APL

“Lucy is an amazing spacecraft, but I’m always looking forward to the day when we start getting data from these never before seen fossils of the solar system,” states Lucy primary private investigator, Hal Levison. “Now that we have installed the first scientific instrument, we are one step closer to that day. I would like to thank the APL team for all their hard work getting the instrument to the spacecraft on time during the COVID19 pandemic.”

The Trojan asteroids are 2 groups of asteroids that lead and route Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun. Scientists have proof that these asteroids might have been spread from all over the external planetary system early in the planetary system’s history, and have actually been caught in these steady areas for over 4 billion years. No spacecraft has actually ever been to this population of little bodies, and Lucy will zip 7 of these Trojan asteroids, plus a primary belt asteroid, enabling it to survey the variety of this population in a single record-breaking objective.

L’LORRI is the very first clinical instrument to be set up on Lucy. L’LORRI is often described as Lucy’s “eagle eyes” due to the fact that it has the greatest spatial resolution of all of Lucy’s video cameras. This instrument, which is panchromatic (covering 0.35 to 0.85 microns), will produce black and white images that will offer the most comprehensive views of the surface areas of these never ever prior to seen bodies.

“L’LORRI is rather comparable to its predecessor, the LORRI instrument that flew on New Horizons and returned extraordinary pictures of the Pluto system and the Kuiper belt things Arrokoth,” states Hal Weaver, lead of the instrument group at APL. “I can’t wait to see the images from this L’LORRI instrument and what they will teach us about the Trojan asteroids.”

In addition to L’LORRI, 2 more clinical instruments will be contributed to Lucy over the next couple of months. L’TES (the Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer), is being developed at Arizona State University in Tempe, Arizona. L’Ralph, which is being developed at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt Maryland, is 2 instruments in one, a color noticeable imager (the Multi-spectral Visible Imaging Camera, MVIC) and an infrared imaging spectrometer (Linear Etalon Imaging Spectral Array, LEISA). Together, together with the Terminal Tracking video cameras T2CAM and the High Gain Antenna, which will assist in both interactions and radio science, these instruments will expose this never ever prior to checked out population of asteroids in extraordinary information.

“The L’LORRI Pre-Environmental Review was held back in early August and to see what this team has accomplished over the last several months, under a pandemic, is astonishing,” stated Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy task supervisor from NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland. “I commend the L’LORRI team for their hard work, resiliency, and dedication. I’m looking forward to the first time we power up L’LORRI on the spacecraft.”

Southwest Research Institute’s Hal Levison and Cathy Olkin are the primary private investigator and deputy primary private investigator of the Lucy Mission. NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center supplies general objective management, systems engineering and security and objective guarantee. Lockheed Martin Space is constructing the spacecraft. Lucy is the 13th objective in NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, handles the Discovery Program for the firm’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington, D.C.

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