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Genesis Mission to Our Solar System

Goals: Genesis' purpose is to observe the solar wind, entrap its particles and return them to Earth.

Accomplishments: For more than two years, Genesis collected samples of the solar wind -- a stream of charged particles from the sun -- about 1.5 million km (1 million miles) from Earth, a point where the Earth and sun's gravities are balanced. The zone is called the Lagrange 1 point. Despite a hard landing in the Utah desert, the Genesis samples were recovered from its capsule. The samples are being studied in a special lab at NASA's Johnson Space Center in Texas.

Key Dates
8 Aug 2001:  Launch (16:13:40 UTC)
21 Oct 2001 - 2 Apr 2004:  Sample Collection
8 Sep 2004:  Samples Return to Earth
8 Sep 2006:  Samples Under Study
Status: Successful
Fast Facts
Genesis Facts Genesis collected about 0.4 milligrams - equal only to a few grains of salt - of the solar wind.

The spacecraft collected solar wind for 884 days.

The samples were the first extraterrestrial materials brought to Earth since the Apollo Moon missions.

The samples were the first extraterrestrial materials brought to Earth since the Apollo Moon missions.

Although the parchute and parafoil failed to deploy for safe retreival on Earth, scientists were able to collect samples from the Genesis sample-return capsule.

Hexigonal shaped materials collected the particles from the solar wind.

Genesis was the first mission in the present millennium to return with a package of extraterrestrial material.
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Last Updated: 4 Dec 2012