View Full Version : Discussion: NASA Hopeful About Finding ...

2004-Sep-13, 04:32 PM
SUMMARY: NASA operators were so concerned about the safety of the fragile capsule from Genesis and its precious cargo of solar wind samples that they'd arranged an elaborate airborne capture with helicopter stunt pilots. So when the capsule's parachute failed to open, and it slammed into the Utah desert at hundreds of km per hour, you'd think it was a total writeoff. Well, apparently not. NASA scientists have been analyzing the wreckage, and found enough is intact that they should be able to achieve most of their scientific objectives - enough samples of the Sun's solar wind have survived to keep the scientific community busy for a long time.

What do you think about this story? Post your comments below.

2004-Sep-13, 04:37 PM
Well, I gues that's good news. ;) :unsure: B)

2004-Sep-13, 05:54 PM
That's great!

Lunar soils and breccias returned by the Apollo Mission to the Moon over 30 years ago also contain atoms implanted in the surfaces by the solar wind and by solar flares.

They were returned to Earth with minimal contamination.

Since there is a plentiful of these lunar samples, they may be used to cross-check findings from the more heavily contaminated Genesis samples.

With kind regards,


2004-Sep-13, 09:09 PM
Was there only this one Genesis project probe? Were there any redundancies (such as a second or third probe sitting on a shelf somewhere in case something happened to the first one in launch or launch-prep)? If so, maybe they could have it do a rendevous with the ISS and come down on some future space shuttle or ISS return ship.

2004-Sep-13, 10:28 PM

So far as I know there were no redundancies (such as a second or third probe sitting on a shelf).

If there were, I guess Don Burnett or other scientists working on the Genesis Mission would be telling us about those.

However, lunar soils and breccias from the Apollo Mission can be used to check for contamination.

Suppose, for example you measure the ratio of Mg-24:Mg-25:Mg-26 in material that you think came from the Sun.

If your assumption is valid, the solar-wind derived magnesium should be accompanied by solar-wind derived neon, like that measured in lunar soils and breccias.

I.e., the Mg should be accompanied by Neon having the Ne-20:Ne-21:Ne-22 characteristic of Neon in the solar wind.

I had planned to use this technique in 1983 when I asked NASA for lunar samples so we could measure Mg isotopes coming from the solar wind.

We planned to recover the Mg by etching only a small fraction of the outer grain surface. We planned to use Ne to monitor the etching depth. When we had removed the bulk of the solar wind implanted Ne, we would also have removed the bulk of the solar wind implanted Mg.

We had a co-investigator at the National Bureau of Standards, now NIST, who would have measured the Mg isotopes. I would have measured the Ne isotopes in my lab here in Rolla.

Unfortunately, NASA turned down our proposal.

With kind regards,


2004-Sep-14, 06:36 AM
hopefully NASA can learn something from this mistake

2004-Sep-14, 01:12 PM
Originally posted by Guest@Sep 14 2004, 06:36 AM
hopefully NASA can learn something from this mistake
Perhaps they can design their recovery capsules so that they can land at 200 MPH without distrubing thier cargo. This would save all the weight and complexity of an explosive, a battery, and a parachute. This might be even easier if the landing capsule is designed to have a terminal velocity closer to 50-80 MPH.

Perhaps it wouldn't be so hard to get a team of four helicopters in the landing zone with a big net to catch the thing. We might be able to do this in time to get the stardust probe in a few years.

The mistake was they launched it with a lame battery.

2004-Sep-15, 05:15 PM
The battery! Can you imagine the advertising potential? Was it Energizer or Duracell? Or either one crowing, "Well, it wasn't OUR battery. Pity."