Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

What Genesis Solar Particles Can Tell Us

Date:
September 23, 2004
Source:
University Of California - Davis
Summary:
The recent crash of NASA's Genesis space probe may have looked like bad news for scientists, but its cargo of particles captured from the sun should still yield useful information, according to Qing-Zhu Yin, a planetary scientist at UC Davis.

The recent crash of NASA's Genesis space probe may have looked like bad news for scientists, but its cargo of particles captured from the sun should still yield useful information, according to Qing-Zhu Yin, a planetary scientist at UC Davis.

Yin, who is not directly affiliated with the Genesis mission, studies the composition of meteorites to learn about the formation of the solar system. Like the Genesis capsule, meteorites have a hard landing on the Earth, but can still yield useful information, he said.

By looking at the ratio of oxygen-16, -17 and -18 isotopes in the solar particles, scientists should be able to test theories about how the sun and planets formed. Oxygen-16 is by far the most common. The Earth, moon, Mars and some meteorites all have slightly different ratios of the three isotopes.

The oxygen makeup of the sun, which contains about 99.9 percent of all the mass in the solar system, is much harder to measure. The Genesis spacecraft was built to answer that question by collecting particles blown out from the sun.

In a "Perspectives" article in the Sept. 17 issue of the journal Science, Yin describes new theories about local variations in oxygen isotopes in the vast dust and gas cloud around the young sun. Free oxygen was released when ultraviolet light hit carbon monoxide gas. Because oxygen-16 was so abundant, it was released mostly near the surface of the cloud, but breakdown of carbon monoxide containing less abundant oxygen-17 or -18 continued deeper into the cloud.

Free oxygen and hydrogen formed water that froze onto dust grains and eventually formed into planets, preserving the oxygen-17 and -18 signature, Yin said. The models predict that the Sun itself should have a much lower ratio of oxygen-17 and -18 to oxygen-16 than the rocky planets, a prediction that can be tested by Genesis and future missions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University Of California - Davis. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University Of California - Davis. "What Genesis Solar Particles Can Tell Us." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 September 2004. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040923093551.htm>.
University Of California - Davis. (2004, September 23). What Genesis Solar Particles Can Tell Us. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 16, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040923093551.htm
University Of California - Davis. "What Genesis Solar Particles Can Tell Us." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2004/09/040923093551.htm (accessed April 16, 2014).

Share This



More Space & Time News

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

NASA Showcases Lunar Eclipse

AP (Apr. 15, 2014) Star gazers in parts of North and South America got a rare treat early Tuesday morning - a total eclipse of the moon. (April 15) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Spacecrafts Could Use Urine As Fuel Source

Newsy (Apr. 15, 2014) New research says the urea from urine could be recycled for fuel. Urea is filtered out of wastewater when making drinking water. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
NASA Approves Mon. Space Station Supply Launch

NASA Approves Mon. Space Station Supply Launch

AP (Apr. 13, 2014) NASA decided Sunday to stick with the planned launch of the SpaceX cargo ship, despite a critical computer outage at the space station.Liftoff is scheduled for 4:58 p.m. Monday from Cape Canaveral. (April 13) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Blood Moon' Attracts Stargazers, Conspiracy Theories

'Blood Moon' Attracts Stargazers, Conspiracy Theories

Newsy (Apr. 13, 2014) Tuesday's total lunar eclipse will bring out both stargazers and conspiracy theorists alike as the blood red moon fills up the early morning sky. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins