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NASA launches first space probe toward Jupiter’s Trojan Asteroids

Moscow, Oct 17 (UNI/Sputnik) NASA launched a trailblazing asteroid explorer to Trojan asteroids circling the sun in Jupiter’s path, in what is the first mission to study the primordial material that formed our solar system.
The probe, named Lucy, blasted off atop the Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida on Saturday morning to begin a 12-year mission that will see it zip past eight asteroids that either precede or trail Jupiter.
“Lucy in the sky! Our Lucy Mission lifted off at 5:34am ET (9:34 UTC),” the US space agency tweeted.
The $981-million mission is named after a fossilized female human ancestor discovered by American anthropologist Donald Johanson in Ethiopia in 1974. That fossil, in turn, got its name from a Beatles’ song, “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds.”
The probe received a round of applause in the United Launch Alliance control room after it separated from the rocket. The solar-powered craft will use thrusters to navigate. It will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, making it the first spacecraft to return from the outer solar system.

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