The Genesis team has shipped its first scientific sample from the mission's specially constructed cleanroom at the U.S. Army Proving Ground in Dugway, Utah. The sample, containing what are known as "lid foils," was attached to the interior lid of the Genesis sample return capsule.
"This is the first batch in what we are growing more confident will be many more scientifically valuable samples," said Genesis Project Manager Don Sweetnam of NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Pasadena, Calif. "It appears that we have recovered about 75 to 80 percent of these lid foils. A great deal of credit has to go to the dedicated men and women of Genesis who continue to do very precise, detailed work out there in the Utah desert."
After the sample was shipped from Utah, it was received by Genesis co-investigator Nishizumi Kunihiko from the University of California, Berkeley, Space Sciences Laboratory.
In addition to the lid foils, there was optimistic news about the collector array. Team members from JPL arrived in Utah on Monday with a special fixture to aid in handling the science canister's stack of four collector arrays. The stack was successfully removed as one piece. With the stack on the fixture, the team has begun the process of disassembling the arrays. Several large pieces of individual collector materials, including one completely intact hexagon, were recovered from the top array.
The Genesis cleanroom activities are focused on getting the materials ready for shipping. A date has not yet been selected for transporting the Genesis science canister and recovered collector materials from Dugway to NASA's Johnson Space Center in Houston. The team continues its meticulous work and believes that a significant repository of solar wind materials has survived that will keep the science community busy working on their science objectives.
Explore further: Genesis Mission Update