36th DPS Meeting, 8-12 November 2004
Session 29 Genesis Progress Report
Invited, Thursday, November 11, 2004, 1:30-1:45pm, Lewis

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[29.01] The Genesis Mission: Status on Samples and Plans for Science

E. K. Stansbery, K. M. McNamara (JSC), R. Wiens (LANL), D. S. Burnett (Caltech)

By returning solar matter to Earth, isotopic and elemental compositional baselines for the original solar nebula will be greatly improved for application to planetary science problems. The Genesis mission collected solar wind ions over a 27 month period, using four large arrays employing a wide diversity of collectors of ultrapure Si, Au, C, Mo/Pt, metallic glass, and various coatings on sapphire. In spite of mechanism complexity, the mission successfully collected solar wind from three different regimes and became NASA's first robotic sample return from deep space. An otherwise textbook return with pinpoint accuracy was marred by an unplanned hard landing, causing damage to the collectors. Recovery efforts have been particularly successful for concentrator targets, foils and glass, which will allow recovery of data pertinent to priority science investigations. Surviving portions of collector materials have been carefully cataloged for analysis. Pending cleaning to remove dust contamination, it is still planned to make samples available to the international planetary materials community as soon as possible, using established procedures for evaluation of proposed analytical studies.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 36 #4
© 2004. The American Astronomical Soceity.