Genesis inbound

Genesis probe heads home to Earth

The Genesis probe, which left Earth in 2001 to gather particles blown off the Sun,

returns its cargo on Wednesday.  It will eject a capsule that will enter Earth'satmosphere at 40,000km/h (24,000mph) before slowing, with the help of a parachute, to fall over the Utah desert.  Hollywood stunt pilots are waiting to snatch the parachute in midair to prevent the capsule hitting the ground.  Scientists hope the particles of solar wind can tell them about the evolution of the Sun and the planets.

To catch the charged particles, they used hexagons of silicon, gold, sapphire,

diamond, and other materials, hung out in the solar wind for eight hundred days.  That's over two years!


It crashed.  The parachute didn't open, the canister hit the ground at 193 mph and breached.  The whole experiment may be useless now because of contamination.  Bother.

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