Status Report

Genesis Mission Status Report 30 September 2004

By SpaceRef Editor
September 30, 2004
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The Genesis team is preparing to ship its samples of the
sun from the mission’s temporary clean room at the U.S. Army
Proving Ground, Dugway, Utah, to NASA’s Johnson Space Center
(JSC), Houston.

“We have essentially completed the recovery and documentation
process and now are in the business of preparing everything
for transport,” said Eileen Stansbery, JSC assistant director
of astromaterials research and exploration science. “We still
have a way to go before we can quantify our recovery of the
solar sample. I can tell you we have come a long way from
September 8, and things are looking very, very good,” she

A major milestone in the process was the recovery of the
Genesis mission’s four separate segments of the concentrator
target. Designed to measure the isotopic ratios of oxygen and
nitrogen, the segments contain, within their structure, the
samples that are the mission’s most important science goal.

“Retrieving the concentrator target was our number one
priority,” Stansbery said. “When I first saw three of the
four target segments were intact, and the fourth was mostly
intact, my heart leapt. Inside those segments are three years
of the solar samples, which to the scientific community,
means eons worth of history of the birth of our solar system.
I saw those, and I knew we had just overcome a major hurdle,”
she said.

Other milestones in the recovery process included the
discovery the gold foil collector was undamaged and in
excellent condition. The gold foil, which is expected to
contain almost a million billion atoms of solar wind, was
considered the number two priority for science recovery. The
polished aluminum collector was misshapen by the impact.
However, it is intact and expected to also yield secrets
about the sun. Another occurred when the clean room team
disassembled the collector arrays. They revealed, among large
amounts of useable array material, some almost whole sapphire
and coated sapphire collectors and a metallic glass

Packing solar samples for transport is a little different
than packing a house-worth of belongings for a cross-country
move. After the meticulous process of inspection and
documentation, each segment of collector gets its own ID
number, photograph and carrying case. The samples and
shipping containers fill the space of about two full size
refrigerators. The Genesis material will probably move to
JSC within the next week.

“If you had told me September 8, we would be ready to move
Genesis samples to Houston within the month I would have
replied, ‘no way,'” said Genesis Project Manager Don Sweetnam
of NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. “But
here we are, with an opportunity to fulfill our major science
objectives. It is a great day for Genesis, and I expect many
more to come,” he said.

For more information about the Genesis mission on the
Internet, visit:

For background information about Genesis on the Internet,

SpaceRef staff editor.