After NASA launched the Lucy space probe on Saturday, one of the spacecraft's two giant solar panels failed to attach correctly. The problem, however, will not threaten the spacecraft's 12-year exploration mission as confirmed by an official.
According to Ars Technica, the two solar arrays have a total collecting area of 51 square meters. Since the spacecraft will spend 12 years at a distance five times that of the Earth from the Sun, NASA needed such arrays. Lucy's solar panels can only create around 3 percent of the energy they can look at Earth's orbit around the Sun at a Jovian distance.
NASA Lucy Spacecraft Faces Solar Array Glitch
Lucy, according to Cnet, has had its first issue 48 hours after its launch. One of the solar panels appears to be incorrectly secured in place. Solar arrays, also known as a collection of solar panels, power the Lucy spacecraft's exploration.
NASA's blog post pointed out that the engineers deployed Lucy's two solar power arrays. The battery is also operational. Unfortunately, when compared to the other array, the second array reveals that it did not properly latch.
NASA is examining data from its spacecraft to figure out what's going on with the unlatched array and what actions need to be taken to deploy the solar array fully.
NASA To Fix Issue; Assures Lucy Spacecraft Not In Danger
Thomas Zurbuchen, NASA's associate director for science, tweeted that he is sure that they will resolve the array problem shortly. He also assured her that the Lucy mission would be safe and secure. The Lucy spacecraft will continue to function without risk to its health or safety, according to NASA.
NASA’s #LucyMission is safe & stable. The two solar arrays have deployed, but one may not be fully latched. The team is analyzing data to determine next steps. This team has overcome many challenges already and I am confident they will prevail here as well https://t.co/8IYs8bJhKM pic.twitter.com/oICOA3ksre— Thomas Zurbuchen (@Dr_ThomasZ) October 17, 2021
NASA's planetary research division head Lori Glaze said both solar arrays generate electricity. Engineers have also fully charged Lucy's batteries. According to Spaceflight Now, Glaze stated at a virtual town hall meeting on Monday that Lucy is not at risk in this configuration. She went on to say that they're taking their time figuring out what's wrong with the solar array and that they're working on a plan to fix it.
Meanwhile, NASA's planetary science division for flight projects associate director Joan Salute said they're getting most of the power they expected at this point in the mission.
About NASA Lucy Mission
The Lucy mission intends to study Jupiter's Trojan asteroid, according to a previous Science Times report. Lucy is the first spacecraft to examine the collection of asteroids, which might disclose some hypotheses about the early solar systems.
NASA went on to say that two groups of asteroids are circling the Sun: one passes in front of the gas giant Jupiter, while the other passes behind it.
Furthermore, Trojan asteroids are stuck in a stable orbit that causes them to orbit the planets. According to Cnet, astronauts found approximately 7,000 Trojan asteroids. The Trojans are a swarm of floating rocks. Trojan asteroids are "time capsules from the origin of our solar systems," according to NASA.
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