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Battery problem could threaten Genesis mission
Posted: Fri, Nov 2, 2001, 11:11 AM ET (1611 GMT)
Genesis spacecraft illustration (NASA) An overheating battery on NASA's Genesis spacecraft could prevent it from carrying out its mission, Florida Today reported Friday. The battery on Genesis is currently at its upper temperature limit, 23 degrees C, and could rise to as high as 42 degrees C. The battery is in the spacecraft's return capsule, and would power the capsule as it returns to Earth, carrying samples of the solar wind. The battery is protected by a thermal blanket designed to regulate its temperature, but project engineers believe that contamination of some kind on the blanket's paint, interacting with ultraviolet light from the Sun, may be breaking down the blanket. Genesis, launched August 8 from Cape Canaveral, will go into orbit around the Earth-Sun L1 point later this month. The spacecraft will remain there until early 2004, collecting and analyzing samples of the solar wind. In September 2004 the capsule carrying the solar wind samples will return to Earth to be captured in midair by helicopters over Utah. Project managers told Florida Today that they will continue the mission as if nothing was wrong while continuing to investigate the battery problem.
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