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Genesis Super Highway

The purpose of the Genesis mission is to observe the solar wind, entrap its particles and return them to Earth. After launch, the spacecraft traveled to a point about 1.5 million kilometers (just under 1 million miles) from Earth where the gravities of Earth and the Sun are balanced: the Lagrange 1 point, or "L1." At this location Genesis was well outside of Earth's atmosphere and magnetic environment, allowing it to collect a pristine sample of the solar wind. Genesis' overall flight path resembles a series of loops: first curving towards the Sun and away from Earth to the L1 point, circling five times around it, then falling back for a brief loop around the opposite Lagrange point, called "L2," in order to position the spacecraft for a daylight return to Earth.

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Curator: Aimee Meyer
Updated: November 2009

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