NASA’s Lucy spacecraft, which was launched in October 2021 to research Jupiter’s asteroids, snapped a picture of a smaller asteroid near Mars last week, which presented scientists with a shocking surprise.
The space rock Lucy took a photo of has been named Dinkinesh. It turns out that the space rock also has a small moon orbiting around it.
The Associated Press reported that the discovery was made when Lucy conducted a flyby of Dinkinesh in Mar’s main asteroid belt, nearly 300 million miles away.
The picture was taken by Lucy when she was 270miles away from Dinkinesh. She then transmitted the images and data back to Earth.
The findings included Dinkinesh’s size, which was just barely a half-mile across, and its tiny moon, about a tenth-of-a-mile across.
The Dinkinesh mission was just a practice for the much larger mission of looking at mysterious asteroids around Jupiter.
The 12-year-long mission, which launched on Oct. 16, 2021, is the first mission to the Jupiter asteroids.
The asteroids are in orbits around the sun and are the same distance as Jupiter.
Lucy will reach the Trojan asteroids’ first in 2027, and spend at least six more years exploring them. What started as a list of seven asteroids to research has grown to 11.
The name Dinkinesh means “you are marvelous” in the Amharic language of Ethiopia. It is also the Amharic name for Lucy, the 3. 2-million-year-old remains of a human ancestor found in Ethiopia in the 19702, for which the spacecraft is named.
“Dinkinesh really did live up to its name; this is marvelous,” Southwest Research Institute’s Hal Levison, the lead scientist, said in a statement.
The Associated Press was a contributor to this article.
The article NASA discovers a ‘dinky moon’ orbiting an asteroid during a close flyby first appeared on Fox News .