Lucy is the first mission to explore the Jupiter Trojan asteroids, an ancient population of asteroid “fossils” that orbit around the Sun at the same distance as Jupiter. To reach these distant asteroids, the Lucy spacecraft’s trajectory includes three Earth gravity assists to boost it on its journey to these enigmatic asteroids.
On October 13, 2022, NASA’s Lucy spacecraft captured this image of the Earth and the Moon from a distance of 890,000 miles (1.4 million km). The image was taken as part of an instrument calibration sequence as the spacecraft approached Earth for its first of three Earth gravity assists. These Earth flybys provide Lucy with the speed required to reach the Trojan asteroids — small bodies that orbit the Sun at the same distance as Jupiter. On its 12 year journey, Lucy will fly by a record breaking number of asteroids and survey their diversity, looking for clues to better understand the formation of the solar system.