NASA’s HERMES Mission Passes a Key Pre-launch Phase

(ORDO NEWS) — NASA’s HERMES mission, a set of four instruments to be installed outside the Gateway Orbital Moon Base, passed a critical peer review on January 27, 2022.

Called Key Decision Point C, the peer review assessed the preliminary mission design and program plan for reaching the target launch readiness date no earlier than November 2024. Following this successful peer review, the HERMES mission is now moving into the final Phase C.

“HERMES will be a critical part of the Artemis mission and NASA’s goals of establishing a permanent human presence on the Moon,” said Jamie Favors, HERMES program executive director at NASA Headquarters in Washington, DC. “We are thrilled that the mission has successfully passed this critical test and is one step closer to launch.”

The HERMES (Heliophysics Environmental and Radiation Measurement Experiment Suite) mission will be mounted outside the Gateway Orbital Lunar Base’s Habitation and Logistics Outpost module. It is on the basis of the Gateway that the astronauts of the Artemis mission will live and work, conducting scientific experiments and exploring the possibilities of applying technologies for the exploration of the Moon and more distant space objects.

The HERMES mission will monitor space weather, the fluctuating conditions in space created by the Sun. Space weather includes a constant stream of particles and magnetic fields known as the solar wind; ejections of gaseous clouds with a mass of billions of tons, known as coronal mass ejections; flashes of super-bright light, known as solar flares, and the disturbances that all of these phenomena create in the near-Earth environment.

The HERMES experiment will study space weather under ever-changing conditions. As the Moon rotates around the Earth, which occurs with a period of about one month, the Moon spends about one week inside our planet’s long magnetic tail, similar to a weather vane blown by the solar wind.

When the HERMES experiment stays inside the magnetic tail, its instruments will register particle flows and magnetic fields that have already interacted with the Earth before. The remaining three weeks, when the Moon is directly in front of the Sun, solar wind and space weather measurements will be carried out under conditions close to the primary conditions of interplanetary space.

The HERMES experiment will include the following four specialized scientific instruments: NEMISIS (Noise Eliminating Magnetometer Instrument in a Small Integrated System), which measures magnetic fields; MERiT (Miniaturized Electron pRoton Telescope), which measures ion and electron fluxes; EEA (Electron Electrostatic Analyzer), registering lower-energy electrons dominating in solar wind streams; as well as the SPAN-I (Solar Probe Analyzer for Ions) instrument, which registers protons and ions, including oxygen.

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