10 Years Strong with NASA’s THEMIS Mission

Our THEMIS mission just marked its 10th anniversary in space, discovering how mass and energy move through the near-Earth environment to determine how auroras form. The mission is still making new discoveries.

The magical night lights of the aurora are known to be caused by a space weather phenomenon known as a substorm. But prior to THEMIS, no one understood what triggered these substorms. Thanks to the mission, scientists now understand how the constant outpouring of solar material, called the solar wind, tangles Earth’s magnetic field, initiating the substorms that cause auroras. Scientists also understand the mysteries of why there are different type of auroras – like diffuse and pulsating auroras – much better now.

Learn More Here.

THEMIS by the numbers (infographic)• 5 – Number of spacecraft (two now part of ARTEMIS mission)• 2 – Number of orbits (one around Earth, one near the moon)• 25 – Number of scientific instruments aboard• 20 – Number of ground-based observatories working with THEMIS• 37 watts – Average amount of power each spacecraft needs• 282 pounds – Weight of each spacecraft• 365 GB Data – Average amount collected annually and made publicly available
Credits: NASA