NASA’s Lucy spacecraft has captured its first images of the main belt asteroid Dinkinesh, marking the beginning of a 12-year voyage.
- Dinkinesh asteroid was discovered in 1999 by the LINEAR survey.
- Dinkinesh is a slow rotator with a moderately large light-curve amplitude.
- It is an S-type asteroid, which means it is composed mainly of silicates and some metal.
- It will be the first fly-by target of the Lucy mission on November 1, 2023, during its cruise to the Trojan Clouds.
- The observations were made by Lucy’s high-resolution camera, the Lucy Long Range Reconnaissance Imager ( L’LORRI instrument ).
- It was launched by NASA from the Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida in 2021.
- It is a 12-year missionwhich will take close observations of nine of Jupiter’s Trojans and two main belt asteroids along with that.
- It is the first spacecraft sent to study the Trojan asteroids, which orbit the Sun in the same path that the planet Jupiter takes.
- It has recently captured images of Eurybates, Polymele, Leucus and Leucus asteroids.