The National Aeronautics And Space Administration’s (NASA) Lucy mission team has recently discovered an asteroid Eurybates. NASA’s spacecraft has targeted this asteroid for a flyby in 2027. This science exploration opportunity has come as a bonus for the space agency. This project was discovered by using the photos taken by the Hubble Space Telescope’s Wide Field Camera 3 in September 2018, December 2019, and January 2020.
Lucy will be launched anytime in October 2021. It will be the NASA’s first space mission to investigate the Trojan asteroids that is nothing but a population of tiny bodies orbiting the Sun leading and trailing Jupiter, at the same length from the Sun as the gas giant. Lucy will be the first-ever space project in history to examine so many various targets in independent orbits around our Sun.
As per the reports, Eurybates was first located with Hubble telescope in a search for tiny satellites in 2018, but it was not confirmed until November 2019 when a Lucy team associate marked something in the data showing a possible satellite.
The crew was swift to make the first set of evidence searches in December and early January. The potential satellite was difficult to observe and moving on an unknown orbit around the much brighter Eurybates. There was no surety that it would be evident in the new images.
The team of planetary experts is now working with the help of Hubble telescope schedulers to determine when to make the next checks after Eurybates becomes visible again. Because of the orbits of Earth and Eurybates, any more examinations are not possible until June.
Trojan space rocks have been confined on orbits affiliated with the stable Lagrange Points for billions of years due to the connected gravitational attractions of the Sun and Jupiter. Lucy will examine the difference between these ancient leftover building blocks of the giant planets.