NASA's Lucy spacecraft facing technical problems, solar panels get jammed

WION Web Team
Washington, United States Published: Oct 29, 2021, 03:10 PM(IST)

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 US space agency has said that the panels are being held by a lanyard and are working below 5 to 25 per cent of its total capacity

One of the circular solar panels of NASA's space probe, dubbed Lucy and packed inside a special cargo capsule, has gotten jammed.

The US space agency has said that the panels are being held by a lanyard and are working below 5 to 25 per cent of its total capacity.

According to Harold Levison, the mission’s lead scientist, ''It’s too early to determine longer-range implications to the entire mission.''

''Our team is working this very diligently and carefully to find a workable solution.''

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The first-of-its kind mission aims to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroids, two large clusters of space rocks that scientists believe are remnants of primordial material that formed the solar system's outer planets.

The problem had started after the liftoff of the spacecraft which is 24 feet in diametre. It is essential for both panels to work properly to keep the spacecraft healthy and functioning.

Scientists hope Lucy's close-up fly-by of seven Trojans will yield new clues to how the solar system's planets came to be formed some 4.5 billion years ago and what shaped their present configuration.

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Believed to be rich in carbon compounds, the asteroids may even provide new insights into the origin of organic materials and life on Earth, NASA said.

No other single science mission has been designed to visit as many different objects independently orbiting the sun in the history of space exploration, it added.

The probe will use rocket thrusters to maneuver in space and two rounded solar arrays, each the width of a school bus, to recharge batteries that will power the instruments contained in the much smaller central body of the spacecraft.
 

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