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ARTEMIS Spacecraft May have Been Struck By Object

October 25, 2010

Flight Dynamics data from THEMIS-B (one of the two ARTEMIS spacecraft) indicated that one of the EFI (electric field instrument)spherical tip masses may have been struck by a meteoroid at 0605 UT on October 14. All science instruments continue to collect data. The probe and science instruments aboard the spacecraft continue to operate nominally. The upcoming insertion into Lissajous orbit will not be interrupted.

ARTEMIS stands for “Acceleration, Reconnection, Turbulence and Electrodynamics of the Moon’s Interaction with the Sun”. The ARTEMIS mission uses two of the five in-orbit spacecraft from another NASA Heliophysics constellation of satellites (THEMIS) that were launchedin 2007 and successfully completed their mission earlier in 2010. The ARTEMIS mission allowed NASA to repurpose two in-orbit spacecraft to extend their useful science mission. ARTEMIS will use simultaneous measurements of particles and electric and magnetic fields from two locations to provide the first three-dimensional perspective of how energetic particle acceleration occurs near the Moon’s orbit, in the distant magnetosphere, and in the solar wind.

Jennifer Rumburg, NASA Headquarters, Washington D.C.

Image Caption: An artist’s concept of the THEMIS spacecraft in orbit around Earth. Credit: NASA

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