Lucy ‘s solar panels could not be fully opened and may have doomed the NASA mission .
NASA has announced that it has been able to solve the problems presented by the solar panels of Lucy , its spacecraft to study Trojan asteroids.
When it was launched last year, one of its solar panels couldn’t open, and its operators on Earth have been trying to fix it ever since. Fortunately, after months of trying, they have managed to solve it.
NASA and Lucy, a problem of months
After seven attempts, Lucy ‘s engineers have managed to make the solar panel open 350°, very close to the 360° it had to make to allow the probe to work.
“We have an incredibly talented team, but it was important to give them time to figure out what had happened and how to move forward next,” Hal Levison, Lucy principal investigator from the Southwest Research Institute, said in a statement. “Fortunately, the spacecraft was where it was supposed to be, operating normally and safely.”
After analyzing the risks of the mission and testing a replica on our planet, NASA decided to carry out maneuvers on the Lucy panels 96 million kilometers away
“While the panels are not fully deployed, they are under substantially higher stress, making them stable enough for the spacecraft to function properly,” NASA explained in a statement.
lucy in space
Lucy, launched into space in October 2021, is a ship that seeks to study Trojan asteroids, those rocky bodies that follow Jupiter in its orbit.
Since it was powered by solar panels, the fact that one of them could not be deployed worried scientists, who did not believe that the probe could continue without it.