Artemis to Include Two Lunar Gateway Instruments for Space Weather Forecasting

Two space weather instrument suites, NASA‘s HERMES and ASA’s ERSA, will be used by the astronauts in the Artemis Moon mission to forecast the weather. In this scenario, the weather is defined as energized, subatomic particles and electromagnetic fields moving through the solar system.

The dual instrument suites that are christened after two of Artemis half-siblings will be pre-loaded on the Gateway before the launch of the initial two modules: The Power and Propulsion Element and the Habitation and Logistics Outpost, and the two will be used to monitor the lunar radiation environment and send data back before the arrival of the crew.

Together with European Space Agency (ESA), NASA is constructing each instrument suites to monitor the weather conditions in outer space and send a report back to Earth. The two components are expected to share the work between them, with ERSA checking out the space radiation at advanced energies to protect the astronauts. At the same time, HERMES will be used to monitor lower energies necessary for scientific investigations.

When looking up the night sky, it may look obscure and void, but the Earth moves through an open sea of high energy particles consisting of electrical and magnetic fields. Electrons and ions pass by at high speed, reaching over a million miles per hour, and the random blasts from solar storms push them close to the speed of light. This stream of particles is what is referred to as solar wind. The Earth’s magnetic field, which is around 60,000 miles, is the one responsible for our protection, together with the astronauts nearer to home on the International Space Station.

Heliophysics Environmental and Radiation Measurement Experiment Suite (HERMES) will take a look at the activities at the magnetotail, which will give room for NASA to make a comparison between two of the five THEMIS spacecraft, a pair of ships orbiting the moon and have the same type of instruments as HERMES. The opportunity to collect data from these three instrument suites in different locations will give room for reconstructing the solar wind behavior in relation to change over time. HERMES will gauge lower energy radiation meant for astronauts’ safety, but its primary mission will be scientific.

European Radiation Sensors Array (ERSA) will be used to study the effects of the solar winds on astronauts and their equipment. Loaded with five pieces of equipment, ERSA will measure energetic particles emanating from the Sun, galactic cosmic rays, neutrons, ions, and magnetic fields around the Gateway. The measuring of these particles will explain radiation’s physics in the solar system and comprehend the risks they pose to the astronauts and their tools.