Author Topic: NASA - Lucy - (Trojan Asteroid Flyby) - Updates and Discussion  (Read 102024 times)

Offline AegeanBlue

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Achilles was the first 'trojan' discovered, then Hektor, both at L4.  Then Patroclus was discovered at L5.  Only after that did the idea come about of putting Greek names in L4 and Trojan names in L5, so the later names conform to that idea, but that left Hektor and Patroclus in the wrong places.  They are regarded as spies in the camps of their enemies.


The only major Homeric heroes who go spying in the enemy camp are Odysseus and Diomedes in the Illiad Rhapsody K, nowadays usually called book 10 in English. Think of Patroclus attacking the Trojan Camp as he does in Rhapsody Π (book 14) and Hector attacking the Greek camp as he does in Rhapsody Θ (book 8 )
« Last Edit: 10/20/2021 08:02 pm by zubenelgenubi »

Offline Alpha_Centauri

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Astronomers should never be allowed to name anything, exhibit #2497562

Offline Sesquipedalian

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Astronomers should never be allowed to name anything, exhibit #2497562

7470 Jabberwock would like to disagree with you.

Offline Phil Stooke

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Asteroid 172996 also disagrees.

Offline Rondaz

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NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft Readies for Launch at Kennedy

Linda Herridge Posted on August 11, 2021

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is now in Florida – its final Earth-bound destination – before embarking on a mission to study the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. A United States Air Force C-17 cargo plane from Charleston Air Force Base in South Carolina, flew to Buckley Space Force Base in Aurora, Colorado, to pick up the spacecraft. The aircraft, with Lucy safely inside, then touched down at the Launch and Landing Facility runway at NASA’s Kennedy Space Center on July 30, 2021. From there, the spacecraft was transported to an Astrotech Space Operations processing facility in nearby Titusville to undergo final preparations before liftoff.

Named after a fossilized human ancestor whose skeleton provided discoverers insight into humanity’s evolution, the Lucy mission will do much of the same, providing scientists and researchers a look into the origins of our solar system.

The Trojan asteroids orbit the Sun in two groups: one group lies ahead of Jupiter while the other trails behind. Stabilized by both the Sun and Jupiter, those swarms of asteroids are thought to be remnants of the initial material that formed the planets within the solar system. Throughout the duration of the mission, Lucy will visit eight different asteroids over the span of 12 years, unlocking new information about the primitive bodies that created our early solar system.

Lucy is scheduled to launch on a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station on Oct. 16. The launch is being managed by the NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy, America’s multi-user spaceport. The mission will be the first to study the Trojans.

https://blogs.nasa.gov/lucy/2021/08/11/nasas-lucy-spacecraft-readies-for-launch-at-kennedy/

Offline Rondaz

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NASA’s Lucy Spacecraft Prepares for Journey to Jupiter

James Cawley Posted on September 16, 2021

Launch preparations for NASA’s Lucy spacecraft are well underway at an Astrotech Space Operations processing facility in Titusville, Florida. The spacecraft arrived at the agency’s Kennedy Space Center on July 30, 2021, and shortly after its arrival, was transported to Astrotech’s facility nearby to undergo prelaunch processing.

The latest milestone occurred on Sept. 9, when Lucy was attached to the payload adapter. This is the physical structure that will secure the spacecraft to the launch vehicle – in this case, a United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket. Closer to launch, the payload adapter will be attached to the rocket’s second stage.

Liftoff of the Atlas V is scheduled for Oct. 16 from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station, and the launch is being managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program based at Kennedy – America’s multi-user spaceport.

Lucy will be the first space mission to study the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. These asteroids are thought to be remnants of the initial material that formed the planets within the solar system. Over the course of 12 years, Lucy will visit eight different asteroids, providing researchers and scientists with a never-before-seen glimpse into the origins of our solar system.

https://blogs.nasa.gov/lucy/2021/09/16/nasas-lucy-spacecraft-prepares-for-journey-to-jupiter/

Offline centaurinasa

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To boldly go where no human has gone before !

Offline illectro

I was curious about the propulsion Lucy is using, there's about 1.7km/sec of maneuvers required for the primary mission and the vehicle uses a combination of Hydrazine and MON propellent

A press release from Aerojet-Rocketdyne tells us about the small monoprop thrusters used for attitude contol
https://www.rocket.com/media/news-features/aerojet-rocketdyne-propel-lucy-first-ever-mission-study-trojan-asteroids
"eight MR-103J thrusters and six MR-106L thrusters"

Another product page shows that the main engine is the Leros 1C which uses Hydrazine with MON as an oxidizer
https://www.nammo.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/2021-Nammo-Westcott-Liquid-Engine-LEROS1C.pdf


Online Targeteer

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October 06, 2021
MEDIA ADVISORY M21-126
NASA Sets Coverage, Invites Public to Virtually Join Lucy Launch
Artist’s illustration of the Lucy concept.
Artist’s illustration of the Lucy concept.
Credits: Southwest Research Institute

NASA will provide coverage of upcoming prelaunch and launch activities for Lucy, the agency’s first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids.

Lucy is scheduled to launch no earlier than 5:34 a.m. EDT Saturday, Oct. 16, on a United Launch Alliance (ULA) Atlas V 401 rocket from Space Launch Complex 41 at Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida.

Live launch coverage will begin at 5 a.m. EDT on NASA Television, the NASA app, and the agency’s website. NASA will hold a prelaunch briefing Wednesday, Oct. 13, and science and engineering briefings Oct. 14.

Over its 12-year primary mission, Lucy will explore a record-breaking number of asteroids. The spacecraft will fly by one asteroid in the solar system’s main belt and seven Trojan asteroids. Lucy’s path will circle back to Earth three times for gravity assists, which will make it the first spacecraft ever to return to our planet’s vicinity from the outer solar system.

Due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, all media participation in news conferences will be remote dial-in only. A phone bridge will be provided for each briefing.

Full mission coverage is as follows. Information is subject to change:

Wednesday, Oct. 13

1 p.m.: Lucy prelaunch news conference with the following participants:

    Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator, NASA’s Science Mission Directorate at the agency’s Headquarters in Washington.
    Hal Levison, Lucy principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute.
    Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy Project Manager at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland.
    John Elbon, Chief Operating Officer, United Launch Alliance.
    Launch weather officer, 45th Weather Squadron, Space Launch Delta 45, Cape Canaveral Space Force Station.
    Omar Baez, Lucy Launch Director, NASA’s Launch Services Program at Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom at: [email protected] no later than noon, Wednesday, Oct. 13. Members of the public may also ask questions online by using #LucyMission on social media.

Thursday, Oct. 14

10 a.m.: NASA EDGE: Live Lucy Rollout Show.

1 p.m.: Lucy science briefing with the following participants:

    Adriana Ocampo, Lucy program executive, NASA Headquarters.

    Cathy Olkin, Lucy deputy principal investigator, Southwest Research Institute.

    Keith Noll, Lucy project scientist, Goddard.
    Hal Weaver, principal investigator for Lucy’s L'LORRI instrument, Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory.
    Phil Christensen, principal investigator for Lucy’s L'TES instrument, Arizona State University.
    Dennis Reuter, principal investigator for Lucy’s L’Ralph instrument, Goddard.

3 p.m.: Lucy engineering briefing with the following participants:

    Joan Salute, associate director for flight programs, Planetary Science Division, NASA Headquarters.
    Jessica Lounsbury, Lucy project systems engineer, Goddard.
    Katie Oakman, Lucy structures and mechanisms lead, Lockheed Martin Space.
    Coralie Adam, deputy navigation team chief, KinetX Aerospace.

For the dial-in number and passcode, please contact the Kennedy newsroom at: [email protected] by Thursday, Oct. 14 no later than noon for the Science Briefing and 2 p.m. for the Engineering Briefing. Members of the public may also ask questions, which may be answered in real-time during the segment, by using #LucyMission on social media.

Friday, Oct. 15

3:30 p.m.: NASA Science Live with the following participants:

    Carly Howett, assistant director of the Department of Space Studies, Southwest Research Institute.
    Wil Santiago, deep space exploration engineer, Lockheed Martin Space.
    Donya Douglas-Bradshaw, Lucy project manager, Goddard.
    Brittine Young, mentor for the NASA Lucy L’SPACE academy.
    Wilbert Ruperto, ambassador for the NASA Lucy L’SPACE academy.

This episode will air live on NASA Television and stream live on the agency’s Facebook, Twitter and YouTube channels. Members of the public can participate live by sending questions using #askNASA or posting a comment in the live video chat stream.

NASA TV Launch Coverage

NASA TV live coverage will begin at 5 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 16.  For NASA TV downlink information, schedules, and links to streaming video, visit:

https://www.nasa.gov/live

Audio only of the news conferences and launch coverage will be carried on the NASA “V” circuits, which may be accessed by dialing 321-867-1220, -1240, -1260 or -7135. On launch day, "mission audio," countdown activities without NASA TV launch commentary, will be carried on 321-867-7135.

On launch day, a “clean feed” of the launch without NASA TV commentary will be carried on the NASA TV media channel.

NASA Website Launch Coverage

Launch day coverage will be available on the agency’s website. Coverage will include livestreaming and blog updates beginning no earlier than 5 a.m. Oct. 16, as the countdown milestones occur. On-demand streaming video and photos of the launch will be available shortly after liftoff. For questions about countdown coverage, contact the Kennedy newsroom at: 321-867-2468. Follow countdown coverage on our launch blog at:

https://www.blogs.nasa.gov/lucy

Interview Requests

Members of the media looking for interviews on the Lucy launch should submit media requests to Alana Johnson and Nancy Neal-Jones.

Public Participation

Members of the public can register to attend the launch virtually. NASA’s virtual guest program for Lucy includes curated launch resources, a behind-the-scenes look at the mission, and the opportunity for a virtual guest launch passport stamp .

Virtual NASA Social

As NASA finalizes launch preparations, the agency invites the public to join its virtual NASA Social for the #LucyMission on Facebook. Stay up to date on the latest mission activities, interact with NASA team members in real-time, and watch the launch.

Watch and Engage on Social Media

Stay connected with the mission on social media, and let people know you're following it on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram using the hashtag #LucyMission – and tag the following accounts:

Twitter: @NASA, @NASASolarSystem, @NASASocial, @NASA_LSP, @SLDelta45

Facebook: NASA, NASASolarSystem, NASA LSP, SLDelta45

Instagram: NASA

The launch of this mission is managed by NASA’s Launch Services Program, based at Kennedy, America’s premiere multi-user spaceport. Goddard provides overall mission management, systems engineering, and safety and mission assurance. Lucy’s principal investigator is based out of the Boulder, Colorado, branch of Southwest Research Institute. Lucy is the 13th mission in NASA’s Discovery Program. NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, manages the Discovery Program for the agency’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington.

United Launch Alliance is the rocket provider for Lucy’s launch. Lockheed Martin Space in Littleton, Colorado, built the spacecraft.

Para obtener información sobre cobertura en español en el Centro Espacial Kennedy o si desea solicitar entrevistas en español, comuníquese con Antonia Jaramillo 321-501-8425.

-end-
Best quote heard during an inspection, "I was unaware that I was the only one who was aware."

Offline redliox

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Lucy launch upon us.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline Blackstar

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Offline Blackstar

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So this report came out in early 2020 and dealt with what happens with the next New Frontiers announcement of opportunity based upon recent events. One issue was whether a Trojan rendezvous mission made sense considering that the Lucy mission was going to fly past (not rendezvous with) a bunch of Trojan asteroids.

https://www.nap.edu/catalog/25868/report-series-committee-on-astrobiology-and-planetary-science-options-for


TROJAN TOUR AND RENDEZVOUS

Knowledge of the Trojan asteroids has increased considerably since the completion of V&V, in terms of the quality and completeness of their astronomical characterization; new kinds of telescopic observations, including in the thermal-infrared and mid-ultraviolet; and the discoveries of additional binary systems, for which we can determine masses and bulk densities, and dynamical families indicative of disruptions. We have a more complete view of their great diversity in size, shape, and composition.32 Additionally, significant advancements in understanding solar system dynamics have provided powerful constraints on the migration of Jupiter and other giant planets after their formation, and the possible origin of the Trojan swarm. Indeed, one of the key motivations for a Trojan Tour in V&V was its unique ability to resolve some of the primary debates concerning early planet formation, with great relevance to debates concerning the formation of Earth and other planets.

The traditional theory was that Trojans are remnants of Jupiter’s feedstock planetesimals, a collection of primitive bodies that were trapped in the co-orbital gravitational potential wells (Sun-Jupiter Lagrange points L4 and L5) that lead and trail Jupiter by 60 degrees in its orbit around the Sun. Modern ideas of giant planet migration make the survival of such an original swarm unlikely and have led to a new paradigm: Trojans are proto–KBOs that were scattered inward during giant planet migration, with a fraction of them being captured by Jupiter to become the L4 and L5 swarms. If true, this paradigm places important quantitative constraints on planet formation and migration,33 with predictions for the growth of terrestrial planets and the delivery of volatiles to Earth.

While modern dynamical models make a strong case for captured Trojans, there are substantial, unexplained differences between current spectroscopic properties (and thus, taxonomies) of Trojans and those of KBOs. They look like different populations. One idea is that KBOs, once trapped in Jupiter’s orbit at 5 AU, evolved thermally, chemically, and dynamically (e.g., through collisions) in ways that led to the diversity of the modern population. This idea connects deeply with our understanding of primitive asteroids in general, and with the still poorly understood connections between asteroids and comets, and the compositions of bodies that were accreted by the terrestrial planets, including Earth. As noted in V&V,34 “In-depth study of these objects will provide the opportunity to understand the degree of mixing in the solar system and to determine the composition and physical characteristics of bodies that are among the most primitive in the solar system.”

In sum, the scientific understanding of the Trojan asteroids has advanced considerably since V&V due to Earth-based observations and theoretical modeling efforts. Nevertheless, the major scientific questions posed in V&V regarding these bodies remain unanswered and, if anything, have been accentuated and made more relevant to planetary science. To address these questions requires in-depth investigation of one or more of these worlds, and these questions form the scientific basis for the selection of the Lucy multiple-Trojan-flyby Discovery mission, scheduled for launch in 2021. This mission, discussed further in Chapter 3, is the major programmatic development since V&V regarding the Trojan asteroids. Lucy takes advantage of the significant technological advancement in space solar power systems, which enables operations at Jupiter’s distance from the Sun.35 It also leverages technological advancement in instrument design. As described below, a key scientific difference between Lucy and the Trojan Tour and Rendezvous New Frontiers mission envisioned in V&V is the lack of a final rendezvous encounter and the associated instrumentation that would measure elemental composition of near-surface materials.

Offline Blackstar

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Here is what the report concluded:

TROJAN TOUR AND RENDEZVOUS

As noted above, NASA has selected for flight through its Discovery program the Lucy multiple-Trojan-asteroid flyby mission. Lucy takes advantage of significant advancement in the application of solar-power for deep-space missions. Moreover, the Lucy team also discovered a unique and powerful mission design that allows the spacecraft to tour the leading L4 Trojan cloud starting in 2027 and then fall back through the inner solar system to undergo an Earth flyby, thus enabling it to reach the trailing L5 Trojan cloud in 2033. There, it will fly by the giant binary asteroid Patroclus-Menoetius. Lucy will encounter one main belt asteroid and seven Trojan asteroids in its nominal tour (including a satellite of one Trojan and the Patroclus-Menoetius binary as two). All of the major taxonomic types among the Trojan asteroids (and outer asteroid belt asteroids in general)—so-called C, P, and D types—will be encountered. Lucy will carry visible, near-infrared, and thermal-infrared imagers and spectrometers, as well as radio science (using the high-gain antenna and associated telecommunications systems to determine the masses of the target asteroids by Doppler tracking).

V&V recommended a New Frontiers class mission that would encounter at least two Trojan asteroids and rendezvous with one for an extended exploration. Possible instrumentation could include visible and near-infrared spectrometers to measure spectral reflectance and infer composition; gamma-ray and neutron spectroscopy to elucidate elemental composition; multispectral imaging; an ultraviolet spectrometer to search for outgassing; a thermal mapper; and possibly a lidar system. Information on the interior structure of the rendezvous Trojan would be obtained from shape determination and radiometric tracking.

Finding: Creative approaches in implementation that differ from the specific mission implementation studies in V&V warrant consideration by NASA on the basis of merit in achieving science objectives. This includes accomplishing New Frontiers-level mission objectives in Discovery.

The Lucy mission aims to accomplish the preponderance of the objectives of the Trojan Tour and Rendezvous mission theme. The science objective of the Trojan Tour and Rendezvous, as described in the NF4 AO, was to “visit, observe, and characterize multiple Trojan asteroids.” While Lucy will meet this science objective, determination of elemental abundances in surface materials will not be accomplished. This relates to a major scientific rationale for the Trojan Tour and Rendezvous mission, to use composition to discriminate between planet formation hypotheses: either Trojans were captured during a solar-system-wide cataclysm during giant planet migration3 or they are leftovers of Jupiter’s local formation-swarm. Recent advances concerning the formation of Jupiter and its effect on planetesimal populations make this discrimination less clear.4,5 Results from the Lucy mission should nevertheless shed great light on planet formation models.

With current technology, elemental abundances of surface materials can be determined by gamma-ray and neutron spectroscopy, which require station-keeping with a Trojan asteroid for a considerable length of time to build up the necessary signal to noise. Complete high-resolution imaging of the rendezvous targets will also not be possible, and precise mass determination from radio tracking is more difficult from a single flyby. Lucy’s advantage, through clever tour design, is that a large number of Trojan asteroids of diverse spectral types will be visited, and on a Discovery budget. A future New Frontiers–class mission to the Trojan asteroids could potentially take advantage of technology development, such as advanced solar-electric propulsion, which could permit extended rendezvous at multiple targets, in the manner of the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres. However, selecting a Trojan tour mission in NF5 would not be in keeping with the optimum program balance among mission targets and types recommended strongly in V&V. Further exploration of the Trojan asteroids is justifiable on scientific grounds, but the next steps, beyond Lucy, would be best left for determination by the forthcoming decadal survey.

Finding: There is substantial, although not complete, scientific overlap between the objectives of the Lucy mission and the Trojan Tour and Rendezvous mission as outlined in V&V. Thus, reconsideration of including a Trojan Tour mission in the NF5 call by NASA is warranted, and removing a Trojan Tour mission from the list of potential targets would be appropriate. The next steps for Trojan asteroid exploration are best evaluated and prioritized by the upcoming planetary science and astrobiology decadal survey.

Offline dsmillman

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Lucy is now communicating with the DSN via Canberra. See:

https://eyes.nasa.gov/dsn/dsn.html


Offline vjkane

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With current technology, elemental abundances of surface materials can be determined by gamma-ray and neutron spectroscopy, which require station-keeping with a Trojan asteroid for a considerable length of time to build up the necessary signal to noise. Complete high-resolution imaging of the rendezvous targets will also not be possible, and precise mass determination from radio tracking is more difficult from a single flyby. Lucy’s advantage, through clever tour design, is that a large number of Trojan asteroids of diverse spectral types will be visited, and on a Discovery budget. A future New Frontiers–class mission to the Trojan asteroids could potentially take advantage of technology development, such as advanced solar-electric propulsion, which could permit extended rendezvous at multiple targets, in the manner of the Dawn mission to Vesta and Ceres. However, selecting a Trojan tour mission in NF5 would not be in keeping with the optimum program balance among mission targets and types recommended strongly in V&V. Further exploration of the Trojan asteroids is justifiable on scientific grounds, but the next steps, beyond Lucy, would be best left for determination by the forthcoming decadal survey.
Competing against Lucy and Psyche in that competition was another multiple asteroid flyby mission, MANTIS, that would have examined bodies from most of the major inner solar system (through the asteroid belt) asteroid families. It would have addressed the composition problem by carrying a dust mass spectrometer that would have analyzed the composition of the small particles blasted off the asteroid surface by the nearly constant, minor dust impacts on their surfaces. (The Europa Clipper mission's dust mass spectrometer will rely on the same phenomenon.) The goal was to uniquely tie compositions to families of meteorites. Lucy's proposers did not include this instrument in their proposal.

This extended abstract describes the concept: https://www.hou.usra.edu/meetings/lpsc2020/pdf/2532.pdf

My understanding is that MANTIS was judged to be fully selectable in both that competition and in the following one (that resulted in the selection of VERITAS and DAVINCI+). MANTIS is my favorite Category 1 (fully selectable) Discovery concept that never was selected.

Offline redliox

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Between Blackstar's and Vjkane's posts, it sounds like Lucy's expedition to the Trojans might only be a prelude to greater interest in them.

Using the original Trojan, 624 Hektor, as an example, how much is known about binary/contact asteroids?  Are there implications to how those form that could complement formation theories?  I imagine a lot of scientists would be stunned to find a binary that was half KBO and half rocky.
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Offline Blackstar

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Between Blackstar's and Vjkane's posts, it sounds like Lucy's expedition to the Trojans might only be a prelude to greater interest in them.

Having hung around with a bunch of planetary scientists for the past year (well, "hung around" meaning dozens of Zoom meetings), I'm still somewhat mystified by the level of interest in asteroids. I don't understand the science that well. But one of their selling points is that they can help to answer some of the more fundamental questions about the creation and early evolution of the solar system. So while an individual rock might seem kinda boring to those of us who are not scientists, they can answer big questions. Also, they are really diverse and every one seems to offer surprises. If we encountered a bunch that were very similar, there would be much less of a case for doing more of these missions.

I think that in the case of Lucy, the science team made a good case that there was a lot of value in visiting several Trojans. I don't know if you could argue that there is a better case for doing that than the New Frontiers case for visiting just one and studying it closer. But I think they made a good case on their own. The only concern that I have heard--and I don't know the validity--is that the flybys might be so quick that they won't provide a lot of useful data. However, countering that, I recently heard that there may be many more flyby opportunities after the initial planned ones. So the mission could provide a decent surveillance of the Trojan population, and it might turn up something so surprising that it makes the case for an eventual rendezvous mission to one or more of them.

I don't have much interest in asteroids in general except for Phobos and Deimos. I'm really interested in Japan's MMX mission and very excited that we will finally get answers to the question of their origin.

Offline redliox

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I don't have much interest in asteroids in general except for Phobos and Deimos. I'm really interested in Japan's MMX mission and very excited that we will finally get answers to the question of their origin.

Ditto.  They seem to be oddballs and the asteroid theory has been perpetually in question from such smooth, circular orbits.  But, in short, they're the least explored aspect of Mars and little mysteries in a similar manner the Trojans are to both asteroids and Jupiter.
"Let the trails lead where they may, I will follow."
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Offline Don2

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I think there are two reasons for doing Lucy. One is exploration, and the other is to study solar system formation by finding well preserved remnants of the proto-planetary disc. Solar system dynamics studies indicate that some of the proto-planetary disc material should have been captured in the Jupiter Lagrange points. For some reason nobody understands, there appear to be two different populations. One idea is that one population is the material that went into Jupiter and Saturn and the other population is from material that built Uranus and Neptune. Lucy will find out what is out there and see if it looks like well preserved proto-planetary disc material. If that is the case, then a future mission could study the composition of the material to learn about processes happening in the original proto-planetary disc.

There are other missions trying to study proto-planetary disc materials. Carbonaceous chondrites contain material which has been lightly processed by exposure to water, probably as a result of hydrothermal activity on their parent body. The volatile compounds have been lost but the high melting point stuff still remains.

Comets still have their volatiles and are probably less processed than carbonaceous chondrites. Trojan asteroids should still retain their original water and they might be even more pristine because they have never had cometary activity.

I think the decadal should drop any specific references to Trojans but should retain the objective of accessing well preserved primitive solar system materials. A cometary sample return mission is probably the most promising unfunded opportunity. Future study of the Trojans should wait for the Lucy results.

Offline Zed_Noir

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<snip>
Having hung around with a bunch of planetary scientists for the past year (well, "hung around" meaning dozens of Zoom meetings), I'm still somewhat mystified by the level of interest in asteroids.
<snip>


My guesses at the reasons for level of interest in asteroids.


First the level of funding required for asteroid missions is less than for a destination at an outer system planet locale. The shorter time for the completion of primary mission. Finally it is easier to proposed asteroid missions that don't have to deal with harsh radiation environments or EDL methods, just mostly which optical instruments will be used.


Mercury and Venus missions will require near New Frontier funding levels in the future, IMO. As well the DAVINCI+ and VERITAS missions make further Venusian Discovery class mission selection harder.


Mars missions will be sidelined until Mars Sample Return is well under way.


Lunar missions is effectively part of the Artemis program for now.


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