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Crashed Spacecraft Yields Data on Solar Wind

CowboyNeal posted more than 6 years ago | from the best-of-a-bad-situation dept.

Space 44

Hugh Pickens writes "After the Genesis mission spent 27 months in space gathering tiny samples from different types of solar wind, Hollywood stunt pilots swooped in with a helicopter to catch the falling capsule when it returned to earth. Unfortunately the spacecraft's parachute did not open, and the spacecraft ploughed a hole into the desert. Now scientists are starting to recover data from the salvageable pieces of Genesis. Nature Magazine reports that an analysis of isotopes of neon and argon shows that the elements of main interest to the researchers have the same isotopic signature in the solar wind as in the Sun itself. Because dirt contains relatively little neon and argon, the current Science study wasn't affected too much by contamination and the the team remains hopeful that they will be able to get results on oxygen and nitrogen isotopes from the mission."

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44 comments

Metric to Imperial measurement error? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21055899)

Me thinks so...

Re:Metric to Imperial measurement error? (2, Funny)

ceroklis (1083863) | more than 6 years ago | (#21055931)

No, accelerometer mounted in the wrong orientation

Re:Metric to Imperial measurement error? (-1, Offtopic)

rhinokitty (962485) | more than 6 years ago | (#21055969)

I Forgot My Administrator Password! by Vic Ferri This article is protected by Copyscape! DO NOT COPY without permission! Skill rating level 4. Can't Log On to Windows XP? If that's your only problem, then you probably have nothing to worry about. As long as you have your Windows XP CD, you can get back into your system using a simple but effective method made possible by a little known access hole in Windows XP. This method is easy enough for newbies to follow - it doesn't require using the Recovery Console or any complicated commands. And it's free - I mention that because you can pay two hundred dollars for an emergency download of Winternals ERD with Locksmith which is a utility for unlocking lost Windows passwords. See here http://www.winternals.com/products/repairandrecovery/locksmith.asp [winternals.com] ERD is an excellent multi purpose product, but you should know it is not a necessary one if you have a healthy system and your sole problem is the inability to logon to Windows due to a forgotten password. Not necessary because you can easily change or wipe out your Administrator password for free during a Windows XP Repair. Here's how with a step-by-step description of the initial Repair process included for newbie's. 1. Place your Windows XP CD in your cd-rom and start your computer (it's assumed here that your XP CD is bootable - as it should be - and that you have your bios set to boot from CD) 2. Keep your eye on the screen messages for booting to your cd Typically, it will be "Press any key to boot from cd" 3. Once you get in, the first screen will indicate that Setup is inspecting your system and loading files. 4. When you get to the Welcome to Setup screen, press ENTER to Setup Windows now 5. The Licensing Agreement comes next - Press F8 to accept it. 6. The next screen is the Setup screen which gives you the option to do a Repair. It should read something like "If one of the following Windows XP installations is damaged, Setup can try to repair it" Use the up and down arrow keys to select your XP installation (if you only have one, it should already be selected) and press R to begin the Repair process. 7. Let the Repair run. Setup will now check your disks and then start copying files which can take several minutes. 8. Shortly after the Copying Files stage, you will be required to reboot. (this will happen automatically - you will see a progress bar stating "Your computer will reboot in 15 seconds" 9. During the reboot, do not make the mistake of "pressing any key" to boot from the CD again! Setup will resume automatically with the standard billboard screens and you will notice Installing Windows is highlighted. 10. Keep your eye on the lower left hand side of the screen and when you see the Installing Devices progress bar, press SHIFT + F10. This is the security hole! A command console will now open up giving you the potential for wide access to your system. 11. At the prompt, type NUSRMGR.CPL and press Enter. Voila! You have just gained graphical access to your User Accounts in the Control Panel. 12. Now simply pick the account you need to change and remove or change your password as you prefer. If you want to log on without having to enter your new password, you can type control userpasswords2 at the prompt and choose to log on without being asked for password. After you've made your changes close the windows, exit the command box and continue on with the Repair (have your Product key handy). 13. Once the Repair is done, you will be able to log on with your new password (or without a password if you chose not to use one or if you chose not to be asked for a password). Your programs and personalized settings should remain intact. I tested the above on Windows XP Pro with and without SP1 and also used this method in a real situation where someone could not remember their password and it worked like a charm to fix the problem. This security hole allows access to more than just user accounts. You can also access the Registry and Policy Editor, for example. And its gui access with mouse control. Of course, a Product Key will be needed to continue with the Repair after making the changes, but for anyone intent on gaining access to your system, this would be no problem. And in case you are wondering, NO, you cannot cancel install after making the changes and expect to logon with your new password. Cancelling will just result in Setup resuming at bootup and your changes will be lost. Ok, now that your logon problem is fixed, you should make a point to prevent it from ever happening again by creating a Password Reset Disk. This is a floppy disk you can use in the event you ever forget your log on password. It allows you to set a new password. Here's how to create one if your computer is NOT on a domain: * Go to the Control Panel and open up User Accounts. * Choose your account (under Pick An Account to Change) and under Related Tasks, click "Prevent a forgotten password". * This will initiate a wizard. * Click Next and then insert a blank formatted floppy disk into your A: drive. * Click Next and enter your logon password in the password box. * Click Next to begin the creation of your Password disk. * Once completed, label and save the disk to a safe place How to Log on to your PC Using Your Password Reset Disk Start your computer and at the logon screen, click your user name and leave the password box blank or just type in anything. This will bring up a Logon Failure box and you will then see the option to use your Password Reset disk to create a new password. Click it which will initiate the Password Reset wizard. Insert your password reset disk into your floppy drive and follow the wizard which will let you choose a new password to use for your account. Note: If your computer is part of a domain, the procedure for creating a password disk is different. See here for step by step instructions: http://support.microsoft.com/default.aspx?scid=KB;en-us;306214 [microsoft.com]

Re:Metric to Imperial measurement error? (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21057701)

Well, that was just a sign fault. If the programmer had taken the absolute value of the data it may have worked.

Re:Metric to Imperial measurement error? (1)

shotgunefx (239460) | more than 6 years ago | (#21065025)

Actually, multiple accelerometers mounted in the wrong orientation, spring type so no ABS would have save it.

Delicate uncontaminated dust samples (1)

j-stroy (640921) | more than 6 years ago | (#21055901)

I'll never forget that crashed UFO in a crater picture [space.com] . Bravo for the humpty dumpty project's success!

Re:Delicate uncontaminated dust samples (3, Funny)

lixlpixel (747466) | more than 6 years ago | (#21055991)

i remember reading the thread on fark [fark.com] and laughing so hard, that i had tears running down my face...

scroll halfway down - it's comedy in realtime

Re:Delicate uncontaminated dust samples (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056233)

I'll never forget that crashed UFO in a crater picture.
It looks like a turd waiting to be painted gold.

Yeah, the instruments and samples were so delicate that the researchers were afraid that a parachute landing would be too hard and destroy the samples. But, but, wait! We really didn't need the helicopters.

And parachutes? We don't need no stinking parachutes!.

Can I be the first to say (0, Offtopic)

Yehtmae (704201) | more than 6 years ago | (#21055903)

Khhhhaaaaaannnnnnnnn!!!!!!!

I'm a son (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21055905)

And you should sniff my "solar wind", it can reduce a woman to tears.

And so it begins (3, Funny)

ClubStew (113954) | more than 6 years ago | (#21055909)

Surely it picked up alien spores that are now loose in our deserts. Isn't this how many bad sci-fi movies begin?!

Re:And so it begins (3, Insightful)

moosesocks (264553) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056671)

Sure.... however, this [slashdot.org] probably has a higher chance of reproducing and ruining the planet...

Re:And so it begins (1)

Harmonious Botch (921977) | more than 6 years ago | (#21058461)

Spores?? Spores can't cut the parachute loose. Must have been something a bit bigger.

Re:And so it begins (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21067253)

Joke -woosh---> O

Re:And so it begins (1)

Annymouse Cowherd (1037080) | more than 6 years ago | (#21067279)

damn it, hit submit instead of preview. I meant:
Joke -woosh--->
O <--you
/|\
/ \

Re:And so it begins (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21060373)

And all this time I had considered The Andromeda Strain [imdb.com] a good movie.

But holy crap I need to have a talk with my mother. I remember watching this movie at a matinée on one of the many Saturday afternoons when my mother dropped me and my sister off so she could have time for herself. Shit! I was only 4 years old in 1971. No wonder I remember watching this movie from the lobby through the crack in the theater doors.

Brilliant! (1)

pla (258480) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056015)

Because dirt contains relatively little neon and argon, the current Science study wasn't affected too much by contamination and the the team remains hopeful that they will be able to get results on oxygen and nitrogen isotopes from the mission.

...Because, of course, air contains relatively little oxygen and nitrogen, right?



Also, one peeve - You only capitalize "science" if speaking about the magazine.

Re:Brilliant! (2, Interesting)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056153)

argon makes up about 1% of our atmosphere while neon takes up a smaller amount of our air. though I suspect that the gas was contained enough so that had enough to sample sections that had little or no visible contamination. had there been any real significant contamination from gases in our air, it is just as likely that the gases in the samples escaped, thus there wouldn't be much to sample. in addition to that, we know the general composition of the sun which shouldn't deviate too much from the composition of soalr wind so if we find something statistically off about the oxygen/nitrogen composition then we know that it is likely that the samples were contaminated.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

pallmall1 (882819) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056317)

in addition to that, we know the general composition of the sun which shouldn't deviate too much from the composition of soalr wind so if we find something statistically off about the oxygen/nitrogen composition then we know that it is likely that the samples were contaminated.
In other words, if they find only what they expect (or want) to find, they can conclude that the samples are valid? Or, conversely, if they find something that is different than their theories predict, they can conclude that the samples must be contaminated?

Why did they even bother to launch the probe?

Re:Brilliant! (1)

wizardforce (1005805) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056755)

Why did they even bother to launch the probe?
we know from the light spectrum of the sun what elements are in the sun and what amounts of each, pinpointing the isotopic composition however is more difficult. what I meant by the part

if we find something statistically off about the oxygen/nitrogen composition then we know that it is likely that the samples were contaminated.
was that if we find that the sample consists of mainly oxygen and nitrogen with little hydrogen or helium, it isn't likely to be part of the solar wind- more likely it's contaminated.

Re:Brilliant! (4, Insightful)

lexarius (560925) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056827)

Why did they even bother to launch the probe?
Because they weren't planning to smash it into the ground, possibly contaminating the sample? It did crash, though, and with all the money they spent on it, they're working diligently to get what they can out of it.

Re:Brilliant! (2, Interesting)

nusuth (520833) | more than 6 years ago | (#21057217)

in addition to that, we know the general composition of the sun which shouldn't deviate too much from the composition of soalr wind so if we find something statistically off about the oxygen/nitrogen composition then we know that it is likely that the samples were contaminated.
In other words, if they find only what they expect (or want) to find, they can conclude that the samples are valid? Or, conversely, if they find something that is different than their theories predict, they can conclude that the samples must be contaminated?
Obviously, we also know the composition of the atmosphere. If the isotope ratios are different from solar wind and they are actually more similar to terrestrial sources, the scientists might conclude the samples are contaminated while they are not. In all other cases, the analysis will produce correct results.

The magazine it is (2, Informative)

l2718 (514756) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056199)

TFA explains that they are publishing a series of papers. The quoted paragraph is about results on Neon and Argon which were published in Science. Other results were published elsewhere, such as Space Science Reviews.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

Jeff DeMaagd (2015) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056533)

There are probably several isotopes in the atmosphere, and several that aren't. If you find a lot of certain isotopes that are rare locally, then it's reasonable to suggest that it had come from elsewhere.

Re:Brilliant! (1)

Maxmin (921568) | more than 6 years ago | (#21059049)

Because dirt contains relatively little neon and argon, the current Science study wasn't affected too much by contamination and the the team remains hopeful that they will be able to get results on oxygen and nitrogen isotopes from the mission.
...Because, of course, air contains relatively little solar oxygen and nitrogen isotopes, right?

There, fixed that for you.

Argon (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21056135)

Because dirt and air from Earth contain relatively little neon and argon, the current Science study was not much affected by this type of contamination, says Wiens.
What is this guy smoking? Earth's atmosphere [wikipedia.org] is about 1% argon, it's everywhere.

Re:Argon (4, Interesting)

Dishevel (1105119) | more than 6 years ago | (#21057573)

From what I remember about the original experiment. The colector plates that were exposed to the solar wind used layers to trap the solar wind particles. They were driven deep into the samples by the speed of the solar wind. Argon while present in the earths atmosphere is not as told by the researchers in the soil. Exposer to the air itself wont much contaminate the samples as there is no way to DRIVE the gas particles into the sample medium.

"Murphy's Law", corrected and correctly applied (4, Insightful)

v1 (525388) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056383)

I found it interesting that the article describes how Murphy's Law was not as general as most of us know it, stating more specifically that things that can be installed backwards eventually will be installed backwards, and that this is precisely what caused the parachutes to fail to deploy.

Also can't say that I knew Murphy was a "rocket scientist", literally. How ironic. You'd think NASA would have learned from him by now?

Re:"Murphy's Law", corrected and correctly applied (2, Insightful)

DerekLyons (302214) | more than 6 years ago | (#21057295)

Also can't say that I knew Murphy was a "rocket scientist", literally. How ironic. You'd think NASA would have learned from him by now?

Only a fool believes that Murphy can be circumvented - in the long run he always wins.

Re:"Murphy's Law", corrected and correctly applied (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21059417)

Also can't say that I knew Murphy was a "rocket scientist", literally. How ironic. You'd think NASA would have learned from him by now?

They have. Nobody named "Murphy" works at NASA any more. ...we'll need a new law, though.

Re:"Murphy's Law", corrected and correctly applied (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21060225)

NASA thought they understood Murphy's Law correctly - that's why they delibertely installed the parachute backwards.

KHAAAAAAN! (3, Funny)

cnettel (836611) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056479)

Genesis was no failure. Dr. Marcus was indeed very proud over it.

Re:KHAAAAAAN! (1)

dkleinsc (563838) | more than 6 years ago | (#21058875)

No, obviously this didn't work at all: There was no Genesis effect, otherwise I wouldn't be able to write this.

Ploughed??? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21056659)

If "draught" = "draft", does "ploughed = ploffed"? or "ploft"? WTF is ploffed? ITS "PLOWED".

Effin' brits. Keep your tea, your teeth, and your F'd up spelling.

Re:Ploughed??? (0, Offtopic)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056909)

Also, please keep Madonna.

Uhh, *solar* wind (1)

flyingfsck (986395) | more than 6 years ago | (#21056903)

Solar wind comes from the sun, so why should the particles be any different than the measurements taken from the sun? It is nice to confirm that solar wind really comes from the sun, but hasn't that been confirmed a long time ago by simply looking at the direction of the flow?

NASA's big Divot (4, Informative)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21057087)

I watched it on NASA TV when it came in. It had a pretty good wobble, coming in at a 90 degree angle relative to the earth. Folks had kinda figured that it was going to do a pretty good job of splattering itself on the desert floor. Was a pretty good surprise when it just dug a divot and stayed pretty much intact. Some folks think that most of the lake beds are hard as rocks through and through. Some are not so.
Back in the 60's, legends Chuck Yeager and Neil Armstrong took a Beech twin up for some landing practice on some of the salt flats. Neil set up on a approach for one such flat, on his judgment that it was dry and stable.. Yeager, being the "desert rat" knew of certain flats that stay muddy under the salt crusts, and the one they set up to land was just that. He told Neil that he should abort and go find another flat. Neil, being the analytical computer, declared that it would hold. The Beech's tires touched down on the crust, and proceeded to keep going down into the muddy substrate, sinking up to the struts, coming to a halt.
So the Beech sat there shaking and vibrating, engines going at full throttle. Chuck, ever being the wisecracking pilot turned and said to Armstrong "I told you so". Neil turned to respond, and his computer for a brain clicked and went kerCHUNK! He had nothing to say in return. They hiked to another flat so a DC3 could pick them up on the run.

Re:NASA's big Divot (1)

MarsDefenseMinister (738128) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060381)

Armstrong with nothing to say? He was an awesome choice for first man on moon, but I wish that he felt some kind of obligation to talk about it more. He basically said thanks for the trip, now I'm going to retire leave me alone k thx bye.

He's an inspiring man, I just wish he'd talk about it more.

Re:NASA's big Divot (1)

TheHawke (237817) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060457)

They were hired to do a job, not get blasted by the limelight. Most of the astronaut corps is like that. They got work to do, not play reporter.

I for one... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21058521)

I for one welcome our new solar wind blowing overlords!

*Brazil'd* (2)

LEX LETHAL (859141) | more than 6 years ago | (#21060725)

"They've switched back to metric again without telling us."

Never mind those stupid inert gases! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 6 years ago | (#21060813)

It's Hydrogen we need!

Wasn't there any hydrogen captured?

How will we power our SUVs on this stupid inert crap? Somebody tell NASA to look for the valuable stuff!

So....What? (2)

Anachragnome (1008495) | more than 6 years ago | (#21061217)

"Because dirt contains relatively little neon and argon, the current Science study wasn't affected too much by contamination and the the team remains hopeful that they will be able to get results on oxygen and nitrogen isotopes from the mission."

Does the "Five-second Rule" apply here?
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