Follow this link to skip to the main content
NASA logo, Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Caltech button    
JPL Home button Earth button Stars & Galaxies button Technology button
Genesis Search for Origins banner
Home button
Mission button
Spacecraft button
Science button
Why Study the Sun?
Data and Findings
Astromaterials Curation
Instruments button
Science Team button
News button
Education button
Archived Homepage

Why Study the Sun banner


  GENESIS SCIENCE: "We have solar wind."

  Genesis mission Principal Investigator Don Burnett
Don Burnett

At the March 2005 annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in Houston, Genesis mission Principal Investigator Don Burnett announced that the mission has identified ions of Solar origin in one of the wafer fragments. "We have solar wind," said Burnett, "and we're open for business." The Curation Facility at the NASA Johnson Space Center is now accepting science community requests from its catalogue of over 10,000 sample materials. Burnett went on to say, "The best place to have a mishap is on Earth. You can pick up the pieces. You can use every bit of modern technology to solve your problem." Although the team has had only a very early glimpse at science results, Burnett expresses confidence in long-term success.

Progress is being made on several fronts, a) the Curation Facility is now accepting science community requests from its catalogue of over 10,000 sample materials, b) contamination (both molecular and particulate) has been characterized - it has not impeded implantation of solar wind in the collectors and there are techniques that can remove the 'brown stain' and 'Dugway dirt' when necessary, c) the Genesis Advanced Analytical Instrument Facility instruments at UCLA and Argonne National Lab are now operating and undergoing fine tuning for sample analysis, d) investigators are now measuring solar abundances of magnesium and neon. Since Genesis gathered various solar-wind regimes on specific arrays, one Herculean task at hand is to determine what shards came from which plates, which can be done by thickness.The other task is to sort the different types of silicon wafers, which must be done spectroscopically.

Judy Allton and JPL Project Manager Don Sweetnam
Curation team member, Judy Allton, and JPL Project Manager, Don Sweetnam, in the contamination laboratory at JSC.

"It brings a great deal of satisfaction to share with the public that our sample collectors do contain pieces of the sun, that the hard efforts and work of the Genesis Team have paid off," said Don Sweetnam, Genesis project manager at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory. "I am excited for the solar scientists around the world who will now have an unprecedented opportunity to unlock the secrets of the sun." button
+ Freedom of Information Act

+ Privacy/Copyright

Curator: Aimee Meyer
Updated: November 2009

go to go to go to