The Lucy mission to NASA’s asteroid launched this weekend continues the deep space tradition of taking a commemorative plaque on a cosmic journey.
Scheduled to launch no later than Saturday (Oct. 16), the Lucy spacecraft is expected to shake up at least eight asteroids in its lifetime, and the plaque serves as a nod to space history with a twist. Rather than greeting aliens as predicted by previous NASA messages, Lucy’s image will serve as a reminder of the value of space exploration to the descendants of humanity.
“This time capsule contains messages from famous members of our society; people who ask us to think about the human condition, as well as our place in the universe,” NASA said. He said in a statement. “These opinion leaders have been asked to give words of advice, words of wisdom, words of joy and words of inspiration to those who can read this picture in the distant future.”
Associated with: Lucy’s mission on the NASA asteroid will investigate the mysteries of the early solar system
The mission’s lead investigator, Hal Levison, told Space.com that Lucy’s image was intended as a deliberate reference to Pioneer 10 and 11 spacecraft, L Voyager 1 and 2nd spaceshipwhich, when launched in the 1970s, contained distant tablets in the solar system. (Voyager 1 and 2 continue Presentation of scientific results From interstellar space, but maybe Silence for several years With dwindling power sources – the same fate as the pioneers).
“I was in high school when the pioneer program started and high school when the Voyagers launched, and I remember being very excited and inspired by these images,” Levison told Space.com.
He added that for him, the Pioneer and Voyager images narrowed the divide between life on Earth and the exploration of galaxies, especially since they carried a message from humanity to any aliens they might encounter.
The image of Lucy – which will remain in the solar system – is not intended for aliens, but for future humans. Levison said the mission team can “imagine something” [future] Astroarchaeologists are flying around the solar system, collecting garbage and trying to figure out what we were doing.”
The plaque contains the words of several people, including Nobel Prize winners in Literature and a poet from the United States. All four members of the famous Beatles of the 1960s were also in attendance, along with accompanying recording artist Yoko Ono; Lucy’s assignment is indirectly named after their hit song ‘Lucy in the Sky With Diamonds’.
A selection of quotes from the plaque includes:
- “If you look further, you will find peace there.” George Harrison, lead guitarist for the Beatles, died in 2001.
- “Blessed are those who see / The dream is in Lucy’s bones: / That the worlds resist humanity / Worlds that leave us good people…” – Excerpt from Amanda Gorman, black poet, activist and national youth poet Inauguration of US President Joe Biden.
- Think of the earth whose skin you are: red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth, brown earth, we are earth. – Excerpts from Joy Harjo, member of Muscogee Nation and American poet.
Future people will have plenty of time to catch up with Lucy. The mission will study Trojan asteroids orbiting Jupiter that have not been seen up close. After the completion of Lucy’s main mission, the spacecraft is expected to remain in orbit between the Trojans and Earth for “at least hundreds of thousands, if not millions of years,” according to NASA.
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