Lucy in the Sky with Lab-Grown Diamonds

Hello Folks, Welcome to another Michael Gabriels' Blog. 

This is a really fun one today!

Tomorrow, May 26, is a very cool day! 

It's the 55-year anniversary of the release of “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds,” by the famous Liverpool rock band, The Beatles.

Coincidentally, right now, the NASA spacecraft Lucy is more than 6 months into a 12-year odyssey, voyaging to the Trojan Asteroids orbiting the planet Jupiter. It’s carrying, you guessed it: diamonds. Specifically, lab-grown diamonds, which are part of its equipment.

Named after the earliest skeletal remains of humans, which have been an incredible source of knowledge about the development of our species, Lucy the spacecraft is going to help us understand the development of our solar system. 


 The discovery of Lucy’s 3.2 million-year-old fossilized bones in 1974, by Donald Johanson, was named after the Beatle's famous song, which was played in camp repeatedly as the team worked the dig. Fast forward several decades and with that in mind, Lucy the spacecraft is carrying a gold plaque with the lyrics to the Beatles’ song. 

The rocket launch last year was witnessed by Johanson, who traveled to Cape Canaveral from Arizona where he teaches at Arizona State. Remarking with wonder on the “intersection of our past, our present, and our future,” (PBS) he noted, “That a human ancestor who lived so long ago stimulated a mission which promises to add valuable information about the formation of our solar system is incredibly exciting.”

Lucy the spacecraft will fly past the asteroid DonaldJohanson, named after the paleoanthropologist, in 2025.

But why is Lucy in the sky with lab-grown diamonds? 

When Lucy is engaged with its asteroid targets it will be using various scientific instruments that need to be able to work in the extreme environments of space for decades to come, or at least the remaining 11 years of this mission. To do that, at least one of these instruments uses a disc or discs made of lab-grown diamonds, because of the vastly superior characteristics of that material. 

Diamonds grown in labs are chemically and structurally the same as natural diamonds, but because of the controlled environment they grow in, we can optimize various characteristics that make them more technologically friendly. 

Ringo Starr, the drummer of The Beatles, is quoted, saying, “I’m so excited — Lucy is going back in the sky with diamonds. Johnny will love that. Anyway, if you meet anyone up there, Lucy, give them peace and love from me.”

Maybe, in the end, it’ll be the girl with kaleidoscope eyes.


Leave a comment

All comments are moderated before being published