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Genesis Contingency Planning and Mishap Recovery: The Sample Curation ViewPlanning for sample preservation and curation was part of mission design from the beginning. One of the scientific objectives for Genesis included collecting samples of three regimes of the solar wind in addition to collecting bulk solar wind during the mission. Collectors were fabricated in different thicknesses for each regime of the solar wind and attached to separate frames exposed to the solar wind during specific periods of solar activity associated with each regime. The original plan to determine the solar regime sampled for specific collectors was to identify to which frame the collector was attached. However, the collectors were dislodged during the hard landing making identification by frame attachment impossible. Because regimes were also identified by thickness of the collector, the regime sampled is identified by measuring fragment thickness. A variety of collector materials and thin films applied to substrates were selected and qualified for flight. This diversity provided elemental measurement in more than one material, mitigating effects of diffusion rates and/or radiation damage. It also mitigated against different material and substrate strengths resulting in differing effects of the hard landing. For example, silicon crystal substrates broke into smaller fragments than sapphire-based substrates and diamond surfaces were more resilient to flying debris damage than gold. The primary responsibility of the curation team for recovery was process documentation. Contingency planning for the recovery phase expanded this responsibility to include not only equipment to document, but also gather, contain and identify samples from the landing area and the recovered spacecraft. The team developed contingency plans for various scenarios as part of mission planning that included topographic maps to aid in site recovery and identification of different modes of transport and purge capability depending on damage. A clean tent, set-up at Utah Test & Training Range to control the environment for processing the sample return capsule and cleanly installing a nitrogen purge to the canister, was used to control the environment for extracting collector fragments from the damaged canister and to document and package over 10,000 collector fragments.
Document ID
Document Type
Conference Paper
Stansbery, E. K. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Allton, J. H. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Allen, C. C. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
McNamara, K. M. (NASA Johnson Space Center Houston, TX, United States)
Calaway, M. (Jacobs Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Rodriques, M. C. (Jacobs Sverdrup Technology, Inc. Houston, TX, United States)
Date Acquired
August 23, 2013
Publication Date
September 19, 2007
Subject Category
Space Sciences (General)
Meeting Information
Discovery@15 Lessons Learned(Huntsville, AL)
Funding Number(s)
WBS: WBS 134857.04.04
Distribution Limits