NASA launches ‘Lucy’ space probe to find origins of solar system

How do you make a solar system? NASA has launched a new mission to try and answer that question.

“Lucy” lifted off from the Kennedy Space Center in Florida. The probe will spend the next 12 years studying asteroids near the planet Jupiter. The space rock is leftover debris from the formation of our solar system. It’s hoped the close encounters will reveal clues about how we got here.

One hour after take-off, Lucy is set to unfold its solar panels. Each one has a diameter of more than seven meters. The enormous size of these panels gives Lucy the energy needed to penetrate deeper into our solar system than any other previous space probe.

Lucy is headed to Jupiter and the so-called Trojan asteroids that circle it. These celestial bodies are locked into Jupiter’s orbit around the sun by the planet’s intense gravity field.

The Trojan asteroids are distributed in two separate, elongated regions situated ahead of and behind Jupiter.