In 2004, photos of NASA’s ruined Genesis probe were a depressing sight, crushed metal shards left half-buried in the
The Genesis probe had spent over two years collecting oxygen from the outermost layers of the Sun. Charged atoms from the solar wind were captured on five collecting plates hung outside the spacecraft.
About half of the samples were recovered from the wreckage. Researchers were able to remove contamination from them by scrubbing the top 20 nanometers with a beam of cesium ions.
Scientists have been able to fulfill the probe’s original mission by measuring the composition of the Sun’s oxygen in a vacuum.