"The design of the spacecraft draws from the flight-proven OSIRIS-REx spacecraft currently on its way to a near-Earth asteroid Bennu," Lockheed Space Systems Director of Interplanetary Systems Guy Beutelschies stated in the release on Thursday. "The Lucy program has a development cost cap of about $450 million."
Jupiter's “mysterious” Trojan asteroids are trapped by Jupiter’s gravity in two swarms that share the planet’s orbit, one leading and one trailing the planet, the release explained.
"This is a unique opportunity," said Southwest Research Institute Principal Investigator Dr. Harold Levison. "Because the Trojans are remnants of the primordial material that formed the outer planets, they hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system and Lucy, like the human fossil for which it is named, will revolutionize the understanding of our origins."
OSIRIS-Rex mission was designed to bring a sample of the asteroid Bennu back to Earth.
Both missions are part of the NASA Discovery Program, a low-cost effort to explore the solar system with missions proposed by scientists at universities and private research institutes.
Never miss a story again — sign up to our Telegram channel and we'll keep you up to speed!