NASA halts attempts to fix Lucy’s troublesome solar array

Illustration of the Lucy spacecraft with both circular solar arrays fully deployed.
Clarification: Southwest Research Institute

NASA is taking a break from Efforts to open a A small array of solar energy on the spacecraft Lucy, claiming that the probe is Very cool and those efforts When posting the matrix can be It is most fruitful when Lucy is closest to the Sun in December 2024.

aafter launch in October 2021a spacecraft,s two 24-foot-wide (7-meter-wide) solar arrays, that supply strength for lucy, Completely failed bloom, it stays stuck in uninstalled mode. While NASA made Previous attempts to fully publish the matrixAgency Announce in a blog post that Lucy’s team will be suspended He tries to unlock the Matrix completely, saying Starship so cold.

However, NASA does not sweat the problem, estimated in a blog post That the matrix is ​​98% spread and will be able to take the rest of it Lucy’s 12-year mission to visit Jupiter’s mysterious Trojan asteroids, which orbit around and beyond the gas giant.

More on this story: 7 things to know about NASA’s first mission to Jupiter Trojan Asteroids

“Ground tests indicated that deployment attempts were more productive while the spacecraft was warmer, closer to the sun,” NASA Communications Officer Erin Morton wrote in the post last week. With the spacecraft 123 million miles (197 million km) from the Sun (1.3 times farther from the Sun than Earth) and moving away at 20,000 mph (35,000 km/h), the team does not expect further deployment attempts to be useful under current circumstances.”

NASA I noticed problems with the solar array Shortly after the mission was launchedand concluded that it was a loss of tension in the cord Used to open the circular matrix. Lucy is now hurtling away from the sun, getting colder and colder, but will return to Earth for gravitational assistance in December 2024. At this time, the Lucy team hopes the spacecraft will be warm enough to try again.

Meanwhile, the team behind Lucy will collect data on the misbehaving solar array to see how it performs in its slightly malfunctioning state while Lucy continues her visitation mission. Jupiter Trojan groups.

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