TITUSVILLE, Fla. — NASA is scheduled to launch its new asteroid exploring spacecraft, Lucy, into space Saturday morning.
After the launch, Lucy will set out on its path to become the first spacecraft ever to visit Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.
During its 12-year primary mission, Lucy is set to explore a record-breaking number of asteroids, flying by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids.
Jupiter's Trojan asteroids consist of leftover raw materials from the formation of Jupiter, Saturn, Uranus, and Neptune, according to NASA. They share an orbit with Jupiter as it goes around the sun.
In total, NASA says the spacecraft built by Lockheed Martin Space will travel almost 4 billion miles, making three and a half giant loops around the sun.
Its path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, which NASA says will make it the first spacecraft ever to return to our planet’s vicinity from the outer solar system.
Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than 5:34 a.m. ET on Saturday, Oct. 16 on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket from a complex at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.
NASA will provide live launch coverage beginning at 5 a.m. ET on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website.