4:00 PM on Thursday, February 7, 2013
Location: Space@VT Building (1901 Innovation Drive), Room 1032
Dr. David Sibeck, from the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center, will present "NASA Missions THEMIS/ARTEMIS: Past Successes and Future Prospects."
Launched nearly five years ago, the five identical THEMIS spacecraft targeted one of heliophysics’ most pressing research problems: the cause of geomagnetic substorms. Lining up in the earth's magnetotail once each four days during the first two years of the mission, the spacecraft provided the observations needed to demonstrate that magnetic reconnection releases solar wind energy stored in the earth's magnetotail, resulting in brilliant auroral displays, strong fieldaligned currents into the earth's ionosphere, and injections of energetic particles into the Van Allen radiation belts. Two of the spacecraft were then moved to lunar distance to form the ARTEMIS mission ‐ tasked with determining the surface and interior magnetic field structure of the moon, its plasma and magnetic field environment, and the nature of the lunar wake. The other three THEMIS spacecraft remain in near‐Earth orbits, where they continue to make fundamental discoveries concerning the nature of storms/substorms, the radiation belts, and magnetopause physics. THEMIS and ARTEMIS will provide the outer boundary conditions for the recently launched Van Allen Probes and provide context by flying in formation with the forthcoming MMS mission.
Dr. Sibeck will discuss the THEMIS and ARTEMIS missions and their scientific accomplishments. He will also give an update on the Radiation Belt Storm Probes (RBSP), recently re‐named the Van Allen Probes mission. The two RBSP satellites were launched in 2012 to study Earth’s radiation belts, especially the plasma processes that produce very energetic ions and relativistic electrons. Dr. Sibeck will also discuss his interest in remotely sensing the magnetosphere with soft x‐rays.
Dr. David Sibeck has been at NASA Goddard Space Flight Center since 2002, after having worked at the Johns Hopkins Applied Physics Laboratory since 1985. He is the THEMIS project scientist, Van Allen Probes mission scientist, an MMS mission co‐investigator, chairs the GEM steering committee, and recently became President‐elect of AGU's SPA section. His research interests focus on in situ observations of the interaction of the solar wind with the dayside magnetosphere, but he has recently become an advocate of remotely imaging the dayside magnetosheath and cusp in soft x‐rays. With the launch of the Van Allen Probes, his interests have also returned to the inner magnetosphere. He received the AGU's Macelwane award in 1992 and has published over 260 refereed scientific articles as author or co‐author.