We here at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) are very excited about our newest and most exciting mission to date – the exploration of asteroid Dinkinesh. Dinkinesh is a unique asteroid orbiting around the sun in the main asteroid belt between Mars and Jupiter. Though much is still unknown about this asteroid, our spacecraft Lucy is ready to discover the secrets it holds.
On August 20th, 2021, Lucy will set off on her 8-year journey in search of Dinkinesh. Named after the famous fossil ‘Lucy’ that has helped us to understand our pre-human ancestors, Lucy the spacecraft will bring us closer to understanding the origins of our Solar System and the history of the stars. During this mission, Lucy will observe, survey, and analyze the composition of the asteroid, searching for answers to what Dinkinesh is made of its physical size, and other characteristics.
Dinkinesh is unlike any other asteroid discovered, and it holds the potential to unlock mysteries about our universe. It is the first of its kind to be directly explored, and the most unique to date. Scientists suggest that it may have been formed through a collision between small bodies in the main asteroid belt, leading to a unique mix of materials you won’t find in other asteroids. In some ways, we are hopeful that Dinkinesh could act like a time capsule to our Solar System’s formative days, allowing us to uncover the evidence we need to learn more about how planets and other celestial bodies came together.
In addition to its exploration of Dinkinesh, this mission ties in with the greater NASA mission of discovering the origins of the Solar System and our place in it. After Lucy reaches Dinkinesh in 2029, she will return data that will help us to answer questions about the history of the asteroid, and about our Solar System more generally. Lucy’s exploration of Dinkinesh is the first direct exploration of an asteroid of its kind, serving as an important milestone in the search for knowledge about our Solar System.
So, join us here at NASA and excitedly await the launch of our mission with Lucy, as she sets off to explore the unique asteroid Dinkinesh. This mission will not only help us to uncover more information about an asteroid of its kind, but it will also help us to understand our Solar System as a whole. We are ready and excited to explore the unknown on this historic mission!