The new missions are called Lucy and Psyche and they are going to find out more about the origins of our solar system. The missions will start in 2021 and 2023 respectively, according to NASA.
According to NASA, both missions are unique and important for knowing what may happen in the future to our Earth and the solar system.
“Lucy will visit a target-rich environment of Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids, while Psyche will study a unique metal asteroid that’s never been visited before,” said Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for NASA’s Science Mission Directorate in Washington. “This is what Discovery Program missions are all about – boldly going to places we’ve never been to enable groundbreaking science.”
An interest in the subject has recently been clearly growing thanks to some popular space movies and new missions of NASA. So, Lucy and Psyche are the two major projects chosen from five finalists that included a mission to the atmosphere of Venus.
Lucy and Psyche have a very important task to learn more about how our solar system was created and how it will evolve. The projects will include a study of objects that have been formed long ago.
Lucy must leave in 2021 to some swarms of asteroids that are moving around the sun in the same orbit as Jupiter. Currently, we know very little about these swarms of asteroids, but Lucy hopes to investigate them and obtain important information until 2033.
The mission to Psyche, which will be launched in 2023, more to the imagination. Psyche is, in fact, one of the largest asteroids in our solar system with a diameter of 240 kilometers. It is located between Mars and Jupiter. What is special about Psyche is that the asteroid is composed almost entirely of metal, like the core of our planet. Therefore, scientists think it might also once be a planet that was shattered by impacts.