Liftoff!

Look: NASA's historic Lucy launch told in 9 images

The spacecraft is off to explore Jupiter’s ancient Trojan asteroids.

NASA via YouTube

Xinhua News Agency/Xinhua News Agency/Getty Images

At the crack of dawn on October 16, NASA launched its latest mission: Lucy.

NASA/JPL-Caltech

After a successful launch, the spacecraft set off for its ambitious mission to Jupiter’s Trojan asteroids.

It will explore a range of targets over the next 12 years.

Jonathan North via NASA Conceptual Image Lab

Lucy will be the first mission to visit the Trojans — a notably old and mysterious system of rocks orbiting alongside Jupiter.

NASA

The Trojans are some of the most ancient objects in the Solar System.

And if all goes to plan, Lucy’s exploration will give us new data about the primordial days when the planets first formed.

Here’s a recap of Lucy’s launch, in 9 images and videos:

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

9. Holding the Lucy spacecraft inside, this United Launch Alliance Atlas V rocket sits on the launch pad in preparation for liftoff.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

8. At 5:45 am on October 16, the Atlas V rocket successfully launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida.

7. The rocket’s jets glow vividly as Lucy departs Earth for its mission.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

6. Here’s the moment the rocket took off.

NASA via YouTube

5. The rocket’s path as it streaked across the early morning sky.

NASA/Bill Ingalls

4. After the rocket made it above Earth, it broke apart to release the Lucy spacecraft on its long journey to the Trojans.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

3. Here’s another view of the spacecraft separating from the rocket, just about an hour after launching from Earth.

NASA via YouTube

2. Lucy then unfurled its solar arrays, which will help power the spacecraft for the duration of its trip.

NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center Conceptual Image Lab

1. Now, Lucy is on its roundabout path to the Trojans, where it will reach its first target in 2025.

NASA

Want to explore more about Lucy and the Trojans?

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