Genesis (NASA Discovery Mission #5) is a sample return mission. Collectors comprised of ultra-high purity materials will be exposed to the solar wind and then returned to Earth for laboratory analysis. There is a suite of fifteen types of ultra-pure materials distributed among several locations. Most of the materials are mounted on deployable panels (‘collector arrays’), with some as targets in the focal spot of an electrostatic mirror (the ‘concentrator’). Other materials are strategically placed on the spacecraft as additional targets of opportunity to maximize the area for solar-wind collection.
Most of the collection area consists of hexagonal collectors in the arrays; approximately half are silicon, the rest are for solar-wind components not retained and/or not easily measured in silicon. There are a variety of materials both in collector arrays and elsewhere targeted for the analyses of specific solar-wind components.
Engineering and science factors drove the selection process. Engineering required testing of physical properties such as the ability to withstand shaking on launch and thermal cycling during deployment. Science constraints included bulk purity, surface and interface cleanliness, retentiveness with respect to individual solar-wind components, and availability.
A detailed report of material parameters planned as a resource for choosing materials for study will be published on a Genesis website, and will be updated as additional information is obtained. Some material is already linked to the Genesis plasma data website (genesis.lanl.gov). Genesis should provide a reservoir of materials for allocation to the scientific community throughout the 21st Century.
KeywordsSolar Wind Sapphire Bulk Metallic Glass Solar Energetic Particle Collector Material
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