View Full Version : Genesis Accident Report Released

2006-Jun-14, 04:50 AM
On the morning of September 8, 2004, NASA scientists were elated. Their Genesis spacecraft had traveled 32 million kilometers (20 million miles), and was loaded up with precious samples of the solar wind and interstellar particles. But as the spacecraft hurtled through the Earth's atmosphere, it quickly became clear something was very wrong. Instead of floating gently down to Earth on its parachutes, Genesis cratered into the ground at high speed, and its fragile cargo suffered devastating damage. What went wrong? A special Mishap Board released their findings today.

Read the full blog entry (http://www.universetoday.com/2006/06/13/genesis-accident-report-released/)

2006-Jun-14, 07:22 AM
Did any of the witnesses to the accident suffer memory loss when they met the MIB?

2006-Jun-14, 01:54 PM
I don't understand how this could have happened. Didn't the scientists that put Genesis together have a checklist? " Install G-switches. Make sure they are CORRECTLY installed". I mean, come on, how could someone miss that?! And even if they did, why did the later inspections not see that? The whole purpose of the inspections is to assume that everyone else screwed up and to find where they screwed up. If you're just going to assume that everyone did their jobs right why even bother with an inspection?

2006-Jun-14, 02:03 PM
It wasn't picked up in the checks of the assembly because the design drawings were incorrect. Where it should have been picked up is at the earlier design review stage.

The mission was one from the period when NASA was being told by its administrator to follow a "faster, better, cheaper" philosophy. Unfortunately, the easiest way to make a space mission faster and cheaper is to cut down on the most expensive part of the process, which is checking, checking and checking again.

2006-Jun-14, 02:19 PM
Next time how about a "this side up" marking on each part!

2006-Jun-15, 01:19 AM
Once again we learn of a PowerPoint 'bullet' taking the place of a proper engineering analysis, and once again a spacecraft is lost as a result.

The last time it was the Columbia.


What'll it be next time?

- Chris

2006-Jun-15, 05:10 PM
Once again we learn of a PowerPoint 'bullet' taking the place of a proper engineering analysis, and once again a spacecraft is lost as a result.

Hi Chris, welcome to the BAUT forum.

I was and am pretty disappointed that the Genesis probe was built with these critical mistakes. On the other hnd, this report is about why it failed. I think that we are still in for a scientific treat when the science team manages to extract useful information from the shattered remains. That will come in another report in a year or so.

2006-Jun-16, 12:17 AM
Fair dinkum!... :eh: .... :clap: .... :shifty: .... :rolleyes: .... :doh:.... ROLF .... :clap: :clap:

Pretty switched on mob one would have assumed.

2006-Sep-21, 02:07 AM
On the morning of September 6, 2006 team members of the Utah Test and Training Range (UTTR) hosted a dedication ceremony in honour of the two-year anniversary of the Genesis science capsule return to Earth. In a ceremony attended by representatives from Dugway Proving Ground (DPG), Hill Air Force Base, the Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), Johnson Space Centre (JSC), and Mid-continent Research for Education and Learning (McREL), a permanent monument was installed commemorating the significance of solar wind samples returned to Earth. Within the obelisk-shaped monument, a time capsule containing print and media features that characterise the mission from inception to present day was installed. The monument and time capsule were made possible through private donations. The monument is placed on the exact spot of the capsule’s Earth return.

Source (http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/science/mon_dedic.html)

After Genesis impressively ploughed into the Utah desert, scientists managed to retrieved the damaged science canister and taken it to a clean room at the US Army base.
It seemed initially that a faulty battery failed to initiate explosives causing the Genesis crash; the explosions should have released parachutes to ease the fragile capsule back down to Earth; But, an investigating board said on the 16 Oct 2004, that the probe may have been doomed by engineering drawings that had been done backwards...

The Genesis mission was launched in August 2001 to study and capture samples from the Sun, during its three-year mission. Since October 2001 the spacecraft has exposed specially designed collector arrays of sapphire, silicon, gold and diamond to the Sun's solar wind.
By looking at the ratio of oxygen-16, -17 and -18 isotopes in the solar particles, scientists should be able to test theories about how the sun and planets formed. Oxygen-16 is by far the most common. The Earth, moon, Mars and some meteorites all have slightly different ratios of the three isotopes.
The oxygen makeup of the sun, which contains about 99.9 % of all the mass in the solar system, is much harder to measure. The Genesis spacecraft was built to answer that question by collecting particles blown out from the sun.
new theories about local variations in oxygen isotopes in the vast dust and gas cloud around the young sun. Free oxygen was released when ultraviolet light hit carbon monoxide gas. Because oxygen-16 was so abundant, it was released mostly near the surface of the cloud, but breakdown of carbon monoxide containing less abundant oxygen-17 or -18 continued deeper into the cloud.
Free oxygen and hydrogen formed water that froze onto dust grains and eventually formed into planets, preserving the oxygen-17 and -18 signature.
The models predict that the Sun itself should have a much lower ratio of oxygen-17 and -18 to oxygen-16 than the rocky planets, a prediction that can be tested by Genesis and future missions.