NASA spacecraft "Lucy" embarks on mission to explore asteroids
A NASA spacecraft named Lucy blasted into the sky on Saturday morning on a 12-year mission to investigate eight asteroids, AP reports.
Driving the news: Seven of the unknown rocks are among asteroids sharing Jupiter's orbit, which are believed to be remnants of planetary formation, per AP.
- Lucy's journey will span nearly 4 billion miles and is the first rocket to explore the asteroids around Jupiter. The spacecraft also carried lab-grown diamonds for its science instruments, per AP.
- Lucy is named after the 3.2 million-year-old skeletal remains of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia nearly a half-century ago — a discovery that was named after the 1967 Beatles song "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds."
- The rocket was etched with Beatles lyrics and other phrases, per AP.
What they're saying: "I’m so excited — Lucy is going back in the sky with diamonds. Johnny will love that,” Beatles drummer Ringo Starr said, referring to his late colleague John Lennon.
- "Anyway, if you meet anyone up there, Lucy, give them peace and love from me."