Because I forget stuff. Part of

Note: It appears you must have reached this page by a deep level URL. In general this site is currently down and unmaintained. See here

About This Post

Originally posted September 8 2004 at 20:09 under Physics. 0 Comments. Trackbacks Disabled.

Crash, Bang :-(

My living room!
None. Watching Poland v England on TV

NASA’s Genesis probe, which has been collecting particles from around the Sun since the mission was launched back in 2001, has crashed into the Utah desert. The probe was supposed to deploy two parachutes (which it seems it didn’t) to slow it before being plucked out of the air by helicopters to prevent even the most gentle of freefalls.

The delicate crystals which have been used to collect the particles are certainly now shattered. It also seems that the probe has cracked open, exposing those crystals to contamination from the desert when they should only have seen he inside of a clean room. All in all, a bit buggered :-(

Early indications suggest that the explosive charges which should have deployed the parachutes are still live, which means even retrieval has to be cautious.

Update: The capsule has been moved to the clean room. Eye witness reports talk of a breach in the science capsule, which pretty much means horrible amounts of contamination. It sounds very much like no science will be recoverable :-(

Update: The NASA guys are actually being quite optimistic. Some of the all important crystals seem to be more than dust. The hope is the solar particles are embedded within the crystals while the dirt is just on the surface. Rinse well in soapy water, so to speak. Fingers crossed. The finger of blame meanwhile seems to be swinging towards one of the batteries, which may have overheated early on in the mission, which eventually meant the explosive charges didn’t fire to release the chute. Let’s hope it is a problem isolated to Genesis; NASA’s Stardust mission to return cometry dust is cast pretty much from the same die.

Update: More optimism from NASA. Looks like some pieces are intact. Good news. Science could come out of this yet.

Comments (0):

Post a comment

Name and email address are required. Email address is never shown. If you enter a URL your name will be linked to it (this and other links will have the rel attribute set to contain nofollow). Markup allowed: <a href="" title="" rel=""> <em> <strong> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <p> <br />. Anything else is stripped; please be valid. Single linebreaks automatically convert to <br />, double to <p>'s. Additionally anything that looks like a bare URL should get automagically linked. Many acronyms and abbreviations are also automagically handled.

Please note this blog's comment policy

Trackbacks (0):

Trackback URL:


This Crazy Fool

Dr Ian Scott
Croydon (and Gateshead), United Kingdom
Bullding Services Engineer (EngDesign), PhD in Physics (University of York), football fanatic (Newcastle United), open source enthusiast (mainly Mozilla)

More about me [Disclaimer]

You may subscribe to IMS_Blog using the RSS Feed, the Atom Feed or by email.

Creative Commons License

From September 08 Other Years

© Ian Scott. Powered by Movable Type 3.2. This blog uses valid XHTML 1.0 Strict and valid CSS. All times are local UK time. For further details see the IMS_Blog about page.. All my feeds in one.