Genesis spacecraft. Computer artwork of NASA's Genesis spacecraft in collection mode. The solar panels (blue), which have a span of seven metres, can be seen, as can the collector arrays (round). The arrays are made from pure gold, sapphire, silicone or diamond. Genesis was launched in August 2001 to collect samples of solar wind particles. It is hoped that this material, which flows outward from the Sun, will supply information on the composition of the Sun and the origins of the solar system. The mission ends on the 8th September 2004, when the sample return capsule will re-enter the Earth's atmosphere.
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