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  Genesis capsule crashes in desert
Updated 08 September 2004, 17.17
The probe crashed into the desert
A spacecraft holding space dust which might have uncovered the secrets of the solar system has dramatically crashed in the US desert.

The Genesis mission capsule carrying the dust particles span out of control before smashing into the ground, after its parachutes failed to open.

Hollywood stunt pilots had been brought in to help guide the capsule back to Earth, but they could not save it.

Genesis has been touring space on the dust-seeking mission for three years.

One man takes a close look
One man takes a close look

"It appears that it hit the ground at about 100 mph," said a spokesman for US space agency Nasa.

It's not yet known how much damage has been caused and whether anything can be saved from the mission.

The dust samples were the first returned to Earth from outside the moon's orbit, and the first samples of any kind returned to Earth since 1972.

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