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Proceedings Paper

A conceptual design for an exoplanet imager
Author(s): David C. Hyland; Jon Winkeller; Robert Mosher; Anif Momin; Gerardo Iglesias; Quentin Donnellan; Jerry Stanley; Storm Myers; William G. Whittington; Taro Asazuma; Kami Slagle; Lindsay Newton; Scott Bourgeois; Donny Tejeda; Brian Young; Nick Shaver; Jacob Cooper; Dennis Underwood; James Perkins; Nathan Morea; Ryan Goodnight; Aaron Colunga; Scott Peltier; Zane Singleton; John Brashear; Ronald McPherson; Winston Guillory; Sunil Patel; Rachel Stovall; Ryall Meyer; Patrick Eberle; Cole Morrison; Chun-Yu Mong
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Paper Abstract

This paper reports the results of a design study for an exoplanet imaging system. The design team consisted of the students in the "Electromagnetic Sensing for Space-Bourne Imaging" class taught by the principal author in the Spring, 2005 semester. The design challenge was to devise a space system capable of forming 10X10 pixel images of terrestrial-class planets out to 10 parsecs, observing in the 9.0 to 17.0 microns range. It was presumed that this system would operate after the Terrestrial Planet Finder had been deployed and had identified a number of planetary systems for more detailed imaging. The design team evaluated a large number of tradeoffs, starting with the use of a single monolithic telescope, versus a truss-mounted sparse aperture, versus a formation of free-flying telescopes. Having selected the free-flyer option, the team studied a variety of sensing technologies, including amplitude interferometry, intensity correlation imaging (ICI, based on the Brown-Twiss effect and phase retrieval), heterodyne interferometry and direct electric field reconstruction. Intensity correlation imaging was found to have several advantages. It does not require combiner spacecraft, nor nanometer-level control of the relative positions, nor diffraction-limited optics. Orbit design, telescope design, spacecraft structural design, thermal management and communications architecture trades were also addressed. A six spacecraft design involving non-repeating baselines was selected. By varying the overall scale of the baselines it was found possible to unambiguously characterize an entire multi-planet system, to image the parent star and, for the largest base scales, to determine 10X10 pixel images of individual planets.

Paper Details

Date Published: 19 September 2007
PDF: 15 pages
Proc. SPIE 6693, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III, 66930K (19 September 2007); doi: 10.1117/12.732648
Show Author Affiliations
David C. Hyland, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Jon Winkeller, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Robert Mosher, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Anif Momin, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Gerardo Iglesias, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Quentin Donnellan, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Jerry Stanley, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Storm Myers, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
William G. Whittington, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Taro Asazuma, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Kami Slagle, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Lindsay Newton, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Scott Bourgeois, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Donny Tejeda, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Brian Young, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Nick Shaver, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Jacob Cooper, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Dennis Underwood, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
James Perkins, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Nathan Morea, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Ryan Goodnight, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Aaron Colunga, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Scott Peltier, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Zane Singleton, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
John Brashear, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Ronald McPherson, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Winston Guillory, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Sunil Patel, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Rachel Stovall, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Ryall Meyer, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Patrick Eberle, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Cole Morrison, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)
Chun-Yu Mong, Texas A&M Univ. (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 6693:
Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets III
Daniel R. Coulter, Editor(s)

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