NASA's Lucy spacecraft faces issues with solar panel

WION Web Team
New DelhiUpdated: Oct 19, 2021, 09:25 PM IST
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NASA Lucy spacecraft approaching an asteroid. Such missions to space bring scientific and technological benefits on earth, says NASA deputy administrator Pam Melroy (Image credit: Southwest Research Institute) Photograph:(Twitter)

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The Lucy mission will study the Trojan asteroids of Jupiter. The spacecraft was launched on October 16

NASA's newly launched spacecraft Lucy, which lifted off on October 16 to explore distant asteroids has faced issues with one of its solar panels. 

On Sunday, NASA said that one of Lucy's 24-foot-wide solar panels may not be working well. 

While the 12-year asteroid mission is safe and healthy, one of the two solar array is not be fully latched, NASA said in a statement.

"NASA`s #LucyMission is safe & stable. The two solar arrays have deployed, but one may not be fully latched. The team is analysing data to determine next steps," Thomas Zurbuchen, associate administrator for the Science Mission Directorate at the agency`s Headquarters in Washington, DC, wrote on Twitter.

NASA said that the team was analysing the problem and will decide on next steps in coming days.

"Lucy spacecraft systems show the spacecraft is operating well and is stable," NASA added in a blogpost.

Meanwhile, it said all other system is working well and both of the solar arrays are producing power and charging the battery .

"All other subsystems are normal. In the current spacecraft attitude, Lucy can continue to operate with no threat to its health and safety. The team is analysing spacecraft data to understand the situation and determine next steps to achieve full deployment of the solar array," the blogpost said.

Lucy`s solar panels are a crucial part of the spacecraft`s ambitious mission to get scientists their first-ever up-close look at asteroids that orbit in the same path as Jupiter, called the Trojans.

Lucy will explore the Trojan asteroids with a suite of remote sensing instruments. Additionally, the navigation cameras will be used to determine the shapes of the Trojan asteroids.

Jupiter`s Trojan Asteroids are small bodies that are remnants of our early solar system, now trapped in stable orbits associated with, but not close to, the giant planet Jupiter.

These primitive bodies hold vital clues to deciphering the history of the solar system.