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NASA spacecraft takes off to visit asteroids around Jupiter in 12-year mission

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By Euronews
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NASA spacecraft takes off to visit asteroids around Jupiter in 12-year mission
Copyright  Photo : John Raoux (Copyright 2021 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

A NASA spacecraft called Lucy was launched into the sky to start a 12-year mission to explore asteroids.

Lucy will explore asteroids around Jupiter that are believed to be fragments of the early solar system.

"We think that the understanding of threats of the Earth are a really critical part of analyzing asteroids and especially near-Earth objects," said NASA's associate administrator for science, Thomas Zurbuchen.

"This particular one is no threat to Earth, it's out there, and we can go visit it and kind of learn how to impart momentum."

Scientists hope to find out more about how the solar system evolved. It will take Lucy six years to build up enough momentum to reach Jupiter.

"The spacecraft is now travelling at roughly 108,000 kph on a trajectory that will orbit the Sun and bring it back toward Earth in October 2022 for a gravity assist," NASA said in a statement.