Archive: Science Update: Bridging a Passion for Human Discovery in Space and on Earth — The Lucy Mission and Lucy in Space Contest, January 14, 2021

Two world-renowned scientists, Donald Johanson PhD and Hal Levison PhD, will discuss human’s passion for exploration and discovery through the lens of two “Lucys.” One — an upcoming NASA mission, led by principal investigator Levison, will be the first space mission to explore the Trojan asteroids — two groups of asteroids that lead and follow Jupiter in its orbit around the Sun. The other — a 3.2-million-year-old human ancestor fossil discovered by Johanson.

The NASA team chose to name the mission after this fossil because, just as the fossil provided unique insights into humanity's origin and evolution, the Lucy mission promises to provide a unique perspective into the origin and evolution of our solar system.

The Institute of Human Origins at Arizona State University, founded by Johanson, has created a contest for middle and high school students to explore the connection between these two Lucys and the spirit of exploration behind them both. For more information on the contest, which is supported by NASA, visit

View the Archive Video

To view the presentation slides from the web seminar and related resources, visit the resource collection. Continue discussing this topic in the community forums.

Below are comments from individuals who attended the seminar:

  • "Connecting two disciplines - Archeology/Anthropology with Astronomy. Had no idea of the connection between the Lucy Space mission and the expedition in Africa. Love the added dimension of the contest for students. Excellent!"
  • "I enjoyed the juxtaposition of two diverse sciences with the connections between them. It truly is wonderful to hear directly from the scientist - to hear their enthusiasm and stories. Thank you!"
  • "It is so exciting to see the cooperative development between anthropology and space programs. It is more important than ever to know that we are one species floating through this solar system. I love seeing the Star Trek come to life!"

A certificate of attendance was deposited into participants' account page for completing the evaluation form at the end of the program.

For more information contact: [email protected]

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