June 25th, 2011 18:05 EST
NASA Suggests The Initial Make-Up of Our Sun and Planets May Differ Slightly
One of NASA`s main assets for space exploration, Genesis recently returned some interesting data and samples that suggest the composition make-up of the sun may differ slightly than the composition make-up of our planetary system.
Genesis was launched back in 2001 aboard a Delta 7326 vehicle from Kennedy Space Center and has been out in our solar system ever since retrieving valuable information to help sciencetists learn more about our planetary and solar system. It first traveled from the L1 or Lagrange Point where is stabilized for over 886 days collecting samples of solar wind which solar winds blow at over 200 miles an hour and the selected material in those solar winds bury themselves in carefully selected materials.
Genesis carried ion and electron solar-wind monitors which drove algorithms to deploy collector arrays that sampled specific solar wind regimes. Genesis also carried an electrostatic mirror that concentrated ions of important, light elements in the solar wind (eg., O, N). In addition to space-borne instruments, two Advanced Analytical Instrument facilities were funded as part of the payload and built while Genesis was flying (genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov)
Genesis returned those collected samples and data in stardust like sample return capsule or (SRC) which finally entered Earth`s atmosphere on September 8, 2004. As a result of a system failure in the design switches that deploy the parachute system on Genesis the capsule crashed destroying many of the Genesis samples that were collected. The Genesis team was eventually able to salvage a lot of the solar wind samples brought back by Genesis.
If you are not sure why NASA and scientists are analyzing and studying solar wind samples it is because they are trying to gather as much information on the composition or make-up of solar wind. This will allow scientist to piece together the chemical and isotopic composition of the solar nebula. The solar nebula is what formed our solar systems billions of years ago.
With the recent data gathered by Genesis and solar wind samples the data suggest that our sun and the inner planetary system may have been formed differently that what scientists originally thought. The red flag that suggest the sun and planets were possibly formed differently than the first hypothesis by scientist lies in the make-up of the oxygen and nitrogen composition.
The types of samples of oxygen and nitrogen are of the most abundant in our solar system and although the differences in the chemical composition vary slightly it could lead more valuable data and information to scientists on how our solar system really evolved.
The basis for this information that lead scientist to possibly believe that the sun and planets may have been formed differently is in the types and kinds of oxygen atoms that are in our air on Earth. There are basically three types of oxygen atoms on Earth which are specifically separated and differentiated by the number of neutrons they contain.
Just about one-hundred percent of the oxygen atoms in our solar system are made up of O-16 but within those O-16 oxygen atoms there are also traces of more exotic oxygen atoms called O-17 and O-18. The samples of oxygen atoms from Genesis suggest that the O-16 oxygen atoms from the sun are slightly higher than that of Earth, the moon, and meteorites. Those other percentages were slightly lower. From this information gathered would possibly suggest that the material that formed the planets were not the same materials that formed the sun and that the sun may have been formed out of a different solar nebula than the planets were formed out of.
Kevin McKeegan who is a Genesis co-investigator from the University of California said, "The implication is that we did not form out of the same solar nebula materials that created the sun -- just how and why remains to be discovered," (http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov)
The main samples and data that have lead scientists to believe this is of course from the samples of the solar wind collected by Genesis. The idea behind this is that the material is from the outer layer of the sun and the outer layer of the sun has not changed for billions of years since the solar nebula was formed so the outer layer of the sun can be thought of as a fossil of the solar nebula and will have data that contain information from billions of years ago. It is really the basis for how our solar system was formed and if the planets and sun was both formed out of different solar nebulas.
Don Burnett from the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, Calif. said "The sun houses more than 99 percent of the material currently in our solar system so it`s a good idea to get to know it better," "While it was more challenging than expected we have answered some important questions, and like all successful missions, generated plenty more." (http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov)
Scientist continue to study the data collected by Genesis on an ongoing basis. With each sample, scientist are discovering new and interesting ideas about our planets, the sun and many aspects of our solar system. With new information about the evolution of the solar nebula and our solar system could lead to new ideas of how maybe one day we could live in other areas of our solar system and live in atmospheres of other planets.
You never know, with the way we have destroyed a lot of our planet with chemicals and holes in our O-Zone layer it may become the key to the survival of future generations to be able to relocate from earth to another atmospheric like planet like earth to be able to go on surviving.
Official Genesis Mission Web Site, http://genesismission.jpl.nasa.gov/