Nasa photo shows 'flying saucer crash site' in desert

Nasa gave UFO hunters across the world a shock on Sunday when they shared an image as part of its 'Astronomy Picture of the Day' series entitled "Flying saucer crash lands in Utah desert."

Unfortunately for those who read a little bit further, the photo did not show a craft once piloted by little green men, but the remains of the space agency's Genesis mission which crash landed in 2004.

However, the story of this spacecraft is still an interesting one - Genesis launched in 2001 to study the Sun and featured a sample-return capsule that was similar in shape to a flying saucer.

Despite being tracked by radar and monitored by chase helicopters the capsule crash-landed when its parachutes failed to open resulting in a rather hard, 300kph landing, three years later.

"The Genesis mission had been orbiting the Sun collecting solar wind particles that are usually deflected away by Earth's magnetic field," says NASA, noting that at least some of the samples were still in good condition despite the crash.

Another three years later, a series of papers were published on the Genesis mission. This included unprecedented details about the composition of the Sun and the elemental differences between the star and the inner planets, as well as providing insights into the abundance of certain elements throughout our solar system.

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