Science & Technology

We Love Lucy – 4 Questions with NASA Mission Manager Sherry Jennings

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft equipped with a solar array.Credit: NASA Goddard Space Flight Center

NASA Is preparing to launch a new spacecraft to unravel the mystery of the formation of the solar system. Named after a fossilized human ancestor, Lucy will be the first mission to study the related but not close Troy Jupiter asteroids. Jupiter.. Lucy will launch the United Launch Alliance Atlas V401 rocket from Space Ranch Complex-41 at Cape Canaveral Air Force Station in Florida by Saturday, October 16.

Just as the mission of the same name provided insight into human evolution, Lucy’s mission could revolutionize knowledge of the origin of planets and the formation of the solar system.During 12 years tripLucy visits eight different record-breaking asteroids — seven Trojans believed to be debris from the formation of the main belt asteroids and outer planets.

Lucy Mission Manager Sherry Jennings

Lucy Mission’s mission manager, Sherry Jennings, poses next to a model of the Lucy spacecraft. Lucy will be the first to study the asteroid of Troy’s Jupiter, two clusters of asteroids that can hold the key to unleashing much of the history of our solar system. Credits: NASA / Sherry Jennings

Marshall for Lucy’s mission manager, Sherry Jennings, sat with us this week to answer some questions about the mission.

What is the most exciting thing about Lucy’s mission to you?

Trojan asteroids have witnessed history outside the solar system. Therefore, they offer us a unique opportunity to better understand the formation of planets and the evolution of the solar system. These primitive objects have important clues to decipher the history of the solar system.

What are spacecraft scientific instruments? What kind of data are you expecting?

Lucy hosts three scientific instruments that collect data to help scientists unravel the mysteries of the formation of planets and the solar system.

Lucy Thermal Emission Spectrometer (L’TES), that version is currently flying over OSIRIS-REx The mission will study the thermal environment of the Trojan horse surface to better understand the physical properties of regolith, such as particle size and subsurface stratification.

La Ralph, Similar to the instrument currently in flight New Horizon The OSIRIS-REX mission combines a multispectral visible camera (MVIC) with an infrared imaging spectrometer to look for ice and organic matter and determine the mineral composition of asteroids.

Long-range reconnaissance imager (L’LORRI) provides detailed images of the surface of Trojan horses. L’LORRI is a clone of the New Horizons device used to capture iconic images of the New Horizons. Pluto You need to flyby and generate images of Trojan horses that will help scientists understand geological features and crater numbers-to help determine the age of Trojan horses.

What do you like about your work and fulfilling this mission?

As a mission manager for Lucy Mission, I am responsible for ensuring that the project team has the resources needed to succeed. It inspires me to have the privilege of being part of a team that wants to produce scientific discoveries that change or improve our understanding of the evolution of our solar system.

I am grateful to have worked with a team of talented people across the country on this ambitious mission. The team has maintained and maintained a “capable” attitude through the challenge of integrating and testing hardware during a pandemic and a number of important technical challenges. It will be bittersweet when Lucy launches. I miss working with this team, but I’m very excited to see the amazing discoveries that come from Lucy’s mission.

What is Marshall’s Planetary Mission Office doing? How does this help with missions like Lucy?

Our office manages discovery, new frontier, and solar system exploration programs with missions to explore inferior planets, outer planets, the moon, asteroids, comets, and even non-solar system targets. We recently added a lunar instrument to our portfolio to fly on a lander for Commercial Lunar Payload Services. Our goal is to increase the chances of a successful mission by providing technical oversight and professional support as needed.

We are a fast-paced organization, with an average of just 39 months of project development from preliminary design review to launch. Lucy is the first of three launches for our office in less than a year.

For Lucy, we worked with the project team at every stage of development to ensure the availability of the additional resources needed to maneuver for the pandemic.

Lucy is a discovery mission managed by NASA’s Planetary Mission Program Office at NASA’s Marshall Space Flight Center in Huntsville, Alabama, for NASA’s Planetary Sciences Department. The mission is led by a senior researcher at the Southwest Institute’s Boulder, Colorado office. NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, located in Greenbelt, Maryland, is Lucy’s leading NASA center, providing overall project management, system engineering, safety and mission assurance. Lockheed Martin Space in Denver built the spaceship. KinetX in Simi Valley, California provides mission navigation. The launch will be carried out by NASA’s Kennedy Space Center in Florida.

We Love Lucy – 4 Questions with NASA Mission Manager Sherry Jennings We Love Lucy – 4 Questions with NASA Mission Manager Sherry Jennings

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