A project designed by the University of Minnesota Twin Cities was on board the Genesis space capsule that crashed in a Utah desert.
A remarkable piece of gold foil was designed by the university to act as a catcher in space. It grabbed little pieces of the sun's atmosphere as the craft flew through space.
U of M physics professor Doctor Bob Pepin says when he saw the Genesis crash to earth he thought four years of work had fallen apart.
The gold is suppose to be returned to a Minnesota lab for examination. The testing equipment is being put together now. Dr. Pepin and his team will use the samples to measure nitrogen in the sun once the foil makes it to Minnesota.
The Genesis space capsule, which had orbited the sun for more than three years in an attempt to find clues to the origin of the solar system, crashed after its parachute failed to deploy.