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Proceedings Paper

Planet Discoverer Interferometer (PDI) I: a potential precursor to Terrestrial Planet Finder
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Paper Abstract

We consider a possible precursor interferometer to Terrestrial Planet Finder. The precursor called Planet Discoverer Interferometer (PDI) would search for broadband 10 μm radiation from possible terrestrial planets orbiting stars out to a distance of 8-10pc and at an angular separation of at least 0.1 arcseconds. There are about 20 stars of types A,F,G and K around which an Earth-analog might be detected. PDI would be able to confirm such planets by seeing their orbital motion. PDI would also be able to observe 5 μm radiation from the more massive and younger gas-giant planets around stars up to distances ∼ 150 pc, separated from their star by more than 0.05 arc seconds. It would also see the re-radiated thermal radiation of Jupiter-like planets at temperatures above ∼130K. The device would be a 15m long truss with four SIRTF-like telescopes. It would need to be in a SIRTF-like Earth-trailing orbit, and would be radiatively cooled. A very preliminary design suggest that PDI could fit into the shroud of a Delta II rocket. Similar preliminary calculations suggest that the total lifetime cost of such a mission would be under $300M. Detailed studies of this concept are in process.

Paper Details

Date Published: 24 July 1998
PDF: 7 pages
Proc. SPIE 3350, Astronomical Interferometry, (24 July 1998); doi: 10.1117/12.317132
Show Author Affiliations
Neville J. Woolf, Steward Observatory/Univ. of Arizona (United States)
James Roger P. Angel, Steward Observatory/Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Charles A. Beichman, California Institute of Technology (United States)
James H. Burge, Steward Observatory/Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Michael Shao, Jet Propulsion Lab. (United States)
Domenick J. Tenerelli, Lockheed Martin Missiles & Space (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 3350:
Astronomical Interferometry
Robert D. Reasenberg, Editor(s)

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