View Full Version : Stardust and Genesis

Disinfo Agent
2006-Jan-18, 03:03 PM
A year ago, the Genesis probe made a bad landing (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=13256&highlight=Genesis) on its return to Earth. It should have been picked up on air by an aircraft, but the procedure failed, and the probe crashed. Days ago, Stardust's sample capsule managed to make a successful landing (http://www.bautforum.com/showthread.php?t=35987) all by itself.
What explains the different outcomes of the two missions? Would it have been safer for Genesis to use the same landing procedure as Stardust?

2006-Jan-18, 03:16 PM
The difference is that the parachute failed to open on genesis, and worked correctly on stardust. The air capture wouldn't have been a problem if the chute had opened.

2006-Jan-18, 03:16 PM
The Genesis collection system was much more fragile than the Stardust collection system because of the different types of particles being collected. From the Genesis return press kit:

The prizes Burnett and company are waiting for are hexagonal-wafers of pure silicon,
gold, sapphire, diamond and other materials that have served as a celestial prison for
their samples of solar wind particles. These wafers have weathered 26-plus months in
deep space and are now safely stowed in the return capsule. If the capsule were to
descend all the way to the ground, some might fracture or break away from their
mountings. Hence, the mid-air retrieval by helicopter, with crew including pilots who
have performed helicopter stunt work for Hollywood.

Stardust was trying to collect larger particles from a comet's tail, as contrasted with the solar wind ions that Genesis was trying to collect. So Stardust used aerogel while Genesis used specially prepared, high-purity wafers of solid but easily breakable material.

2006-Jan-18, 03:16 PM
Why wasn't there an air capture for Stardust?
edit: posted before I read ToSeek's post. Thanks!