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jenny
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xx Sept. 8th Fireball !!
« Thread started on: Sep 7th, 2004, 4:20pm »

Space Weather News for Sept. 7, 2004

http://spaceweather.com

On Wednesday morning, Sept. 8th, NASA's Genesis space capsule will streak over Oregon, Idaho, Nevada and Utah, returning samples of the solar wind to Earth. Sky watchers within 100 miles of the reentry path might be able to see the fireball in broad daylight. The best place to be is northern Nevada, where the fireball is expected to be brightest.

New maps and data files just posted on http://www.Spaceweather.com may help observers locate and track the capsule.

Visual observations of the event will be limited to a narrow corridor around the reentry path, but ham radio operators across a much broader area can detect the fireball--by listening. The capsule will blaze a radio-reflecting plasma trail from Oregon to Utah. The reentry offers an opportunity for meteor-burst communications. Follow the links at Spaceweather.com for more information.
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jenny
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xx Genesis Space Capsule Crashes Into Desert
« Reply #1 on: Sep 8th, 2004, 12:32pm »

Anyone wanna place bets on how long until we hear shouts of some kind of conspiracy regarding this? I give it 24 hours smiley
Jen


http://apnews1.iwon.com//article/20040908/D84VKOD01.html?PG=home&SEC=news

Genesis Space Capsule Crashes Into Desert

Sep 8, 2:15 PM (ET)

By PAUL FOY

DUGWAY PROVING GROUND, Utah (AP) - The Genesis space capsule, which had orbited the sun for more than three years in an attempt to find clues to the origin of the solar system, crashed to Earth on Wednesday after its parachute failed to deploy.

It wasn't immediately known whether cosmic samples it was carrying back as part of a six-year, $260 million project had been destroyed. NASA officials believed the fragile disks that held the atoms would shatter even if the capsule hit the ground with a parachute.
"There was a big pit in my stomach," said physicist Roger Wiens of Los Alamos National Laboratory, which designed the atom collector plates. "This just wasn't supposed to happen. We're going to have a lot of work picking up the pieces."

Hollywood stunt pilots had taken off in helicopters to hook the parachute, but the refrigerator-sized capsule - holding a set of fragile disks containing billions of atoms collected from solar wind - hit the desert floor without the parachute opening.

The impact drove the capsule halfway underground. NASA engineers feared the explosive for the parachute might still be alive and ready to fire, keeping helicopter crews at bay.
"That presents a safety hazard to recovery crews," said Chris Jones, solar system exploration director for NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
The copters were supposed to snatch the capsule's parachute with a hook as it floated down at 400 feet a minute, or more than 6 feet per second. But the capsule tumbled out of control. It was supposed to be spinning at 15 revolutions a minute to slice evenly through the atmosphere, but camera images showed it tumbling instead.
Scientists hoped the capsule's charged atoms - a "billion billion" of them - would reveal clues about the origin and evolution of our solar system, said Don Burnett, Genesis principal investigator and a nuclear geochemist at California Institute of Technology.
"We have for years wanted to know the composition of the sun," Burnett said before the crash. He said scientists had expected to analyze the material "one atom at a time."
(AP) The Genesis Sample Return capsule, shown in this image taken from a video released by NASA, lies...
Full ImageGenesis had been moving in tandem with Earth outside its magnetic shield on three orbits of the sun.
Cliff Fleming, the lead helicopter pilot, and backup pilot Dan Rudert had replicated the retrieval in dozens of practice runs. Fleming and Rudert, stunt pilots by trade, were drafted for the mission because of their expertise flying high and capturing objects. Fleming has swooped after sky surfers in the action movie "XXX" and towed actor Pierce Brosnan through the air in "Dante's Peak." He just worked on "Batman 4."
The Genesis mission, launched in 2001, marked the first time NASA has collected any objects from farther than the moon for retrieval to Earth, said Roy Haggard, Genesis' flight operations chief and CEO of Vertigo Inc., which designed the capture system.
Together, the charged atoms captured over 884 days on the capsule's disks of gold, sapphire, diamond and silicone were no bigger than a few grains of salt, but scientists say that would be enough to reconstruct the chemical origin of the sun and its family of planets.
Scientists had expected to study the material for five more years.
---
On the Net:
http://www.genesismission.org
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