September 8th, 2004


Genesis Ranting

Clippings from CNN:
Genesis capsule crashes in desert

”The capsule has suffered extensive damage. It has broken apart on the desert floor,” said an official on NASA TV. “Hopefully, there will be enough evidence to see what went wrong. Whether there will be enough science left inside remains to be seen.”

Gosh, how much ‘science’ did NASA cram in there? I hope we can scrap up some of that ‘science’ so it doesn’t go to waste.

Teams are attempting to recover the craft. NASA has warned them that a “live mortar” or explosive charge designed to deploy the chutes may still be armed.

So it was designed to withstand a “live mortar”, but not crashing into the ground.

NASA officials located the spacecraft around noon on Wednesday after it dug into the desert soil. NASA footage shows the craft tumbling rapidly through the air before hitting the ground with enormous force.

If they had cameras aimed at it as it crashed, then they didn’t really need to ‘locate’ it, did they? Couldn’t they tell where they were aiming the cameras?

By 11:55 am EDT, it reached the roof of the atmosphere, about 410,000 feet, glowing like a streaking meteor. Somewhere during that descent, something went wrong.

The roof? I thought the atmosphere gradually tapered off. 410,000 feet would be approximately where the mesosphere becomes the thermosphere, I believe. Isn’t the thermosphere still part of the atmosphere?

Two helicopters were poised above a Utah Air Force base to snag the Genesis spacecraft’s return capsule. The sturdy container contained atomic isotopes collected as particles streaming off the sun, known as the solar wind.

Not THAT sturdy, it seems.

A modified helicopter -- with a winch, hydraulic capture pole and hundreds of feet of line -- would have followed the capsule by radar until it snagged the parafoil. Because the Genesis capsule repressurized in the upper atmosphere, scientists wanted to minimize the sample’s exposure to air and possible contamination.

They were worried about how to find it, but were planning to catch it with a hydraulic arm sticking out of a helicopter. I guess they weren’t worried about tornadoes either.

Scientists hoped that once the samples had been secured at a NASA facility, scientists could breathe easy. That won’t happen now.

All scientists hoped? All scientists are having difficulty breathing?

I don’t know which was worse, NASA’s assumptions or CNN’s writing.