NASA’s asteroid hunter Lucy soars into sky with diamonds

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FILE – This Wednesday, Sept. 29, 2021 file photo shows NASA’s Lucy spacecraft with its housing at the AstroTech facility in Titusville, Fla. It will be first space mission to explore a diverse population of small bodies known as the Jupiter Trojan asteroids. (AP Photo/John Raoux, File)

CAPE CANAVERAL, FL (Associated Press) — A NASA spacecraft named Lucy has rocketed into the sky with diamonds on a 12-year quest to explore a record-setting eight asteroids.

Lucy blasted off before dawn Saturday from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

The rocket is sending Lucy on a roundabout orbital journey to the Trojan asteroids near Jupiter. These mysterious space rocks swarming in Jupiter’s orbit are thought to be the pristine leftovers of planetary formation. This is the first mission ever headed their way.

Lucy will travel nearly 4 billion miles before reaching its eighth and final target in 2033.

The spacecraft has a disc made of lab-grown diamonds for one of its science instruments.

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