Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Update on new lunar phase of THEMIS mission

Michael Barkoviak
UC Berkeley Daily Tech

"The NASA THEMIS satellite mission, which launched in 2007 ... using five identical satellites" in Earth orbit "researchers are able to successfully measure the local magnetic field and properties of the particles trapped in the magnetic field."

"Two of the five THEMIS probes are now on their way to the moon, for a new life studying the lunar environment"... "Although the two-year 'prime mission phase' of THEMIS is now over, three of the THEMIS probes, closest to the Earth, will continue to operate (for many years) collecting scientific data about the solar wind interaction, space weather, geomagnetic storms, etc."

"Although there are concerns of fuel levels, researchers will have the probes utilize complex orbits that will involve flying them by the moon using Lagrange points to help reduce fuel consumption."

Instead of launching a new mission, researchers decided to send the probes to the moon. Dubbed 'ARTEMIS,' the two space probes ... will conduct several flybys of the lunar surface later this year, then will go into orbit.

Read the original article, HERE.

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