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Proceedings Paper

The Debris Disk Explorer: a balloon-borne coronagraph for observing debris disks
Author(s): Lewis C. Roberts; Geoffrey Bryden; Wesley Traub; Stephen Unwin; John Trauger; John Krist; Jack Aldrich; Paul Brugarolas; Karl Stapelfeldt; Mark Wyatt; David Stuchlik; James Lanzi
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Paper Abstract

The Debris Disk Explorer (DDX) is a proposed balloon-borne investigation of debris disks around nearby stars. Debris disks are analogs of the Asteroid Belt (mainly rocky) and Kuiper Belt (mainly icy) in our Solar System. DDX will measure the size, shape, brightness, and color of tens of disks. These measurements will enable us to place the Solar System in context. By imaging debris disks around nearby stars, DDX will reveal the presence of perturbing planets via their influence on disk structure, and explore the physics and history of debris disks by characterizing the size and composition of disk dust. The DDX instrument is a 0.75-m diameter off-axis telescope and a coronagraph carried by a stratospheric balloon. DDX will take high-resolution, multi-wavelength images of the debris disks around tens of nearby stars. Two flights are planned; an overnight test flight within the United States followed by a month-long science flight launched from New Zealand. The long flight will fully explore the set of known debris disks accessible only to DDX. It will achieve a raw contrast of 10−7, with a processed contrast of 10−8. A technology benefit of DDX is that operation in the near-space environment will raise the Technology Readiness Level of internal coronagraphs, deformable mirrors, and wavefront sensing and control, all potentially needed for a future space-based telescope for high-contrast exoplanet imaging.

Paper Details

Date Published: 26 September 2013
PDF: 14 pages
Proc. SPIE 8864, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI, 88640A (26 September 2013); doi: 10.1117/12.2025282
Show Author Affiliations
Lewis C. Roberts, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Geoffrey Bryden, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Wesley Traub, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Stephen Unwin, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
John Trauger, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
John Krist, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Jack Aldrich, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Paul Brugarolas, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Karl Stapelfeldt, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
Mark Wyatt, Univ. of Cambridge (United Kingdom)
David Stuchlik, NASA Wallops Flight Facility (United States)
James Lanzi, NASA Wallops Flight Facility (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 8864:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VI
Stuart Shaklan, Editor(s)

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