Video: Falling probe

updated 8/13/2004 11:10:59 AM ET 2004-08-13T15:10:59

NASA’s Genesis spacecraft successfully adjusted its course this week as it headed back toward Earth with a sample of solar wind particles, the space agency said Wednesday.

The spacecraft fired its thrusters for 50 minutes Monday, changing its speed slightly.

“It was a textbook maneuver,” said Ed Hirst, the Genesis mission manager at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory.

Genesis was launched in August 2001, carrying special collectors to capture particles of the solar wind to help scientists understand the composition of the sun and the origins of the solar system.

On Sept. 8, Genesis will release a capsule containing the sample. The capsule will fall into Earth’s atmosphere and deploy a parachute. A specially equipped helicopter will snag the capsule in the sky over an Air Force test range in Utah.

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