4 Jun 2002
(Source: Jet Propulsion Laboratory)
Genesis Mission Status Update
The Day The Solar Wind Disappeared
Genesis continues to collect solar wind samples. The solar wind exhibited some unique behavior over the last week, including a "day when the solar wind disappeared."
The spacecraft detected extremely low densities (one particle in ten cubic centimeters or less than one particle in a cubic inch), extremely high wind speeds (approaching 1000 kilometers per second, or over 2,000,000 miles per hour), and multiple coronal mass ejections.
The onboard WIND algorithm was stumped by this rare behavior, so it positioned the collector arrays to a conservative configuration and set the concentrator high voltages to zero until conditions became more normal. More recently, WIND has detected a more normal coronal mass ejection regime and the arrays and concentrator have responded as intended.
We continue to have indications that last week's station-keeping maneuver was very accurate and maybe the best yet.