Back in 2001, NASA launched a mission named Genesis toward the sun to collect solar particles streaming from our star and return them to Earth. Genesis arrived back on Earth right on time in 2004, but all didn’t go according to plan. When Genesis’s parachute failed, the spacecraft crash landed in Utah, spilling it’s contents across the ground. But seven years later scientists are still picking up the pieces, and making big discoveries as they continue to sift through the wreckage.
The most recent finding: Earth’s chemistry is quite different from the sun’s. That may sound obvious, but it actually goes against what cosmologists thought. When our solar system formed 4.6 billion years ago, it did so from churning disk of dust and gas. And because everything came from the same stuff, researchers assumed that the inner solar system would have a shared chemistry.