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Boulder scientists to lead NASA asteroid exploration

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Posted at 11:23 PM, Jan 05, 2017
and last updated 2017-01-06 01:23:16-05

BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- NASA has chosen Boulder's Southwest Research Institute to lead a Discovery mission to perform the first survey of the Trojans, a population of asteroids orbiting with Jupiter.

The Daily Camera reports that the spacecraft, named Lucy, will launch in 2021 to study six of the asteroids.

Chief scientist with the Boulder institute, Harold Levinson, called the mission a "unique opportunity." He says in a statement the asteroids "hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system."

Scientists will use the Lockheed Martin spacecraft and remote-sensing technology to get a close-up view of the asteroids.

After its 2021 launch, Lucy will go on to study six Trojans and one main-belt asteroid. It's scheduled to hit its targets between 2025 and 2033.

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