Genesis was a NASA sample return probe that collected a sample of solar wind and returned it to Earth for analysis. It was the first NASA sample return mission to return material since the Apollo Program, and the first to return material from beyond the orbit of the Moon.Genesis was launched on August 8, 2001, and crash-landed in Utah on September 8, 2004, after a design flaw prevented the deployment of its drogue parachute. The crash contaminated many of the sample collectors, and although most were damaged, many of the collectors were successfully recovered.
The Genesis science team demonstrated that some of the contamination could be removed or avoided, and that the solar wind could be analyzed using a variety of approaches. It is relatively easy to detect the solar wind, but the precision measurements are difficult and techniques are still being refined in laboratories worldwide. Nonetheless, in March 2008 scientists stated that they believed that all of the mission's major science objectives would be achieved successfully.