NASA develops an ingenious solution to fix the troubled asteroid explorer “Lucy”

NASA’s Lucy spacecraft is getting an impromptu “fix” on its way to exploring Trojan asteroids. Last year, NASA launched the Lucy spacecraft designed to explore trapped Trojan asteroids near Lagrange points on Jupiter.

However, a problem arose just 12 hours after launch – one of the large solar arrays designed to generate power from the increasingly distant sun failed to fully deploy and latch. Now, NASA has announced that a team was able to solve the problem enough to keep the mission going – thanks to several clever tricks, Engadget reports.

Hours after the problem was first discovered, NASA assembled an anomaly response team with members of the science mission who lead the Southwest Research Institute, NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center, and Northrop Grumman, the spacecraft builder.

Since there was no camera aimed at the solar arrays, the team had to figure out another way to find the problem. To this end, they launched the spacecraft’s thrusters to measure any anomalous vibrations, and created a detailed model assembly of the array’s motors to determine the stiffness of the array.


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