ARTEMIS Science Website: http://artemis.ssl.berkeley.edu/
Can you imagine what life on the Moon would be like? Here on Earth, our atmosphere protects us some of the intense radiation from the Sun. The moon does not have an atmosphere. Without it, the Moon is flooded with the high speed electrons and protons that make up the solar wind. In planning for future space travel, radiation is an ever-present concern.
NASA has been studying the region around the Earth which protects us from the solar wind. A unique group of five satellites, called THEMIS, are helping scientist to unlock the mystery of how Earth's magnetosphere stores and releases energy from the sun. Three of these satellites continue to study substorms that are visible in the Northern Hemisphere as a sudden brightening of the Northern Lights, or aurora borealis.
Two of the five spacecraft have been sent on a new mission to the moon. This mission is called ARTEMIS, or Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of Moon's Interaction with the Sun. As the name suggests, the two spacecraft will measure what happens when the Sun’s radiation hits our rocky moon, where there is no magnetic field to protect it. As the moon orbits the Earth, it moves into and out of our magnetic shield. What happens to the moon when it is within Earth’s magnetic shield? These are some of the mysteries scientists are interested in resolving.