NASA’s Lucy mission will visit ancient asteroids, including ones near Jupiter, which may contain organic material, according to ANU astrophysicist and cosmologist Dr Brad Tucker.
“We’re kind of used to the asteroids in the asteroid belt between Jupiter and Mars, well there’s actually a group of asteroids that kind of precede and proceed, Jupiter, that are kind of like Jupiter’s entourage,” he told Sky News Australia.
“We think these are really relics of the stuff that formed in our solar system.”
Dr Tucker said the asteroids are believed to be either a moon or planet which did not form and was destroyed by Jupiter.
Dr Tucker said there is hope the asteroids can provide a look into the early existence of the solar system.
“We think, in fact, a number of them are actually rich in organic material; now, obviously, that gets us excited because it leads to the possibility of it being signs of or what was needed to create life,” he said.
“By studying these things up close and personal, we hope to get a good glimpse of what it was like and what led to our solar system.”