September 8th, 2004

Bear: grumpy

When Bad Landings Happen to Good Spacecrafts

Somewhere in the Utah desert:

(click for QT video)

Damn. The official term for this is a "spacecraft contingency" event. (Only because NASA officials aren't supposed to swear openly.)

That's the remains of the Genesis spacecraft, which was returning from a mission to study the solar wind. Scientists are holding out hope that they can retrieve some uncontaminated samples and science information.

It was in flight for four years. They managed to sling it back to Earth and land in the exact part of the Utah desert they were aiming for. (Which, if you think about the time and distances involved, is staggering.) The chutes simply did not deploy.
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