NASA releases photo of “flying saucer” after 14 years

The “flying saucer” crash-landed in a Utah desert

A “flying saucer” crash-landed in a Utah desert 14 years ago and now NASA is sharing pictures for the first time.

The “flying saucer” isn’t an alien spaceship though — it is the remnants of the robot spaceship Genesis that was designed to study the Sun and launched in 2001.

“The year was 2004, and no space aliens were involved,” NASA wrote on its website. “The saucer, pictured here, was the Genesis sample return capsule, part of a human-made robot Genesis spaceship launched in 2001 by NASA itself to study the Sun.”

The space agency noted that Genesis was “being tracked by radar and chased by helicopters,” but since its parachute did not open as planned, it took an “unexpectedly hard landing,” hitting the ground at more than 300 kilometers per hour (186 mph).

Despite the hard landing, NASA said Genesis was able to capture solar wind particles that would otherwise be deflected by the planet’s magnetic field. The particles were in good enough condition to be analyzed, according to the space agency.

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