Earth  Sun  Planets and Moons  ID: 3682


An extension to the THEMIS mission is to send two of the THEMIS satellites into lunar orbit to study the magnetospheric environment near the Moon. The new mission is named ARTEMIS (Acceleration, Reconnection Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of Moon's Interaction with the Sun).

The outermost two THEMIS spacecraft (Probes B and C) are on route to the Moon, where they will become the ARTEMIS mission's Probes 1 and 2 (red and green, respectively) , tasked with studying not only the tenuous cavity carved out by the Moon in the supersonic solar wind, but also reconnection, particle energization and turbulence in both the solar wind and the Earth's distant magnetotail at lunar distance. ARTEMIS stands for Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence, and Electrodynamics of the Moon's Interaction with the Sun.

Thanks to careful planning, sufficient fuel remained on both spacecraft at the successful completion of their primary mission to raise their apogees to lunar distance, where they could receive the multiple gravitational assists needed to fling the spacecraft first beyond the Moon and then assist them in entering in orbits that parallel that of the Moon at the L1 and L2 Lagrange points. Maneuvers in April 2011 enable the spacecraft to enter into prograde and retrograde lunar orbits (the 'braided' motion).

The direction of the Sun is indicated by the yellow arrow.



Visualization Credits

Tom Bridgman (GST): Lead Animator
Greg Shirah (NASA/GSFC): Animator
Scott Wiessinger (UMBC): Video Editor
Rani Gran (NASA/GSFC): Producer
Vassilis Angelopoulos (University of California at Berkeley): Scientist
David G. Sibeck (NASA/GSFC): Scientist
Jeffrey Hayes (NASA/HQ): Scientist
Please give credit for this item to:
NASA/Goddard Space Flight Center Scientific Visualization Studio

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Data Used:
SSCweb also referred to as: SSCweb ephemerides
Ephemeris - NASA/GSFC Space Physics Data Facility - 2009-10-17 to 2012-03-17T17:01:16
Satellite ephemerides
Note: While we identify the data sets used in these visualizations, we do not store any further details nor the data sets themselves on our site.

SVS >> Earth
SVS >> Magnetosphere
SVS >> Moon
SVS >> Orbit
SVS >> Lagrange Points
SVS >> Gravitational Assist
NASA Science >> Earth
NASA Science >> Sun
NASA Science >> Planets and Moons