SCIENCE: "We have solar wind."
At the March
2005 annual Lunar and Planetary Science Conference in
mission Principal Investigator Don Burnett announced
that the mission has identified
image) 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
| "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.
team member Judy Allton and JPL Project Manager
Don Sweetnam in the contamination laboratory at