It orbited the sun for more than three years for clues to the origin of the solar system, and this morning the Genesis probe crashed down in the Utah desert. After re-entering the earth's atmosphere, Genesis' parachutes did not open and it ended up half-buried in the sand.
The helicopter stunt pilots who trained to catch the slowed capsule in mid-air could only watch as Genesis crashed into the desert at 100 miles per hour.
Scientists approached the capsule carefully because the parachute and parafoil were to be deployed with an explosive. After close inspection, they realized it hadn't fired, they also determined the capsule was badly damaged. Project Director, Chris Jones, said, "Hopefully we can recover enough evidence to find out what went wrong. As for the science, we'll have to see if there's something there we can use."