We Love Lucy – Four Questions With NASA Mission Manager Sherry Jennings

Lucy Solar Arrays Deployed

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft with its solar arrays deployed. Credit: NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center

12-year journey, Lucy will visit a record-breaking eight different asteroids — a Main Belt asteroid and seven Trojans that are believed to be remnants from the formation of the outer planets.

Lucy Mission Manager Sherry Jennings

Sherry Jennings, mission manager for the Lucy mission, poses next to a model of the Lucy spacecraft. Lucy will be the first mission to study the Trojan asteroids, two clusters of asteroids that could hold the key to unlocking much of our solar system’s history. Credit: NASA/Sherry Jennings

Sherry Jennings, mission manager at Marshall for Lucy, sat down with us this week to answer several questions about the mission.

What’s the most exciting thing about the Lucy mission to you?

Trojan asteroids have witnessed first-hand the history of the outer solar system. Thus, they present us with a unique opportunity to better understand planet formation and solar system evolution. These primitive bodies hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system.

What are the science instruments on the spacecraft and what data do we expect?

Lucy hosts three scientific instruments that will gather data to help scientists unlock the mysteries of planet and solar system formation.

Lucy Thermal Emissions Spectrometer (L’TES), a version of which is currently flying on the OSIRIS-REx mission, will study the thermal environment of the Trojan surfaces, resulting in a better understanding of the physical properties of the regolith such as grain sizes and subsurface layering.

L’Ralph, similar to instruments currently flying on the New Horizons and OSIRIS-REX missions, is the combination of a Multi-spectral Visible Camera (MVIC) and an infrared imaging spectrometer use to look for ice and organics and will be determining the mineral makeup of the asteroids.

Long Range Reconnaissance Imager (L’LORRI), will provide detailed images of the surface of the Trojans. L’LORRI is a clone of the New Horizons instrument which was used to capture the iconic images of the New Horizons

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