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Proceedings Paper

Overview of past and future space missions dedicated to exoplanet research
Author(s): L. Puig; S. Carpano; N. Rando; A. Stankov; I. Escudero
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Paper Abstract

As more and more exoplanets are being discovered, there is a strong motivation for pushing the limits of current detection methods and atmosphere characterization techniques. The scientific goal is ultimately to discover small rocky exoplanets in the habitable zone of their host star and to determine whether their atmosphere contains any bio-markers. Space observatories play an important role in this field, especially in the IR where ground telescopes are limited by atmospheric absorption and where the star/exoplanet contrast is the lowest. This paper provides an overview of past and current efforts in the field of space telescopes dedicated to exoplanet research, with an emphasis on ESA missions. Spacecraft design drivers, highlighting the impact of exoplanet research requirements on the spacecraft design, are explained when possible. A preliminary mission concept, assessed in the ESA Concurrent Design Facility (CDF), dedicated to spectroscopic measurements of known exoplanets with the capability to observe several transits of a few hundred exoplanets, is outlined and the key design challenges shortly discussed.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 August 2010
PDF: 17 pages
Proc. SPIE 7731, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave, 77314I (9 August 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.856416
Show Author Affiliations
L. Puig, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
S. Carpano, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
N. Rando, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
A. Stankov, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)
I. Escudero, European Space Research and Technology Ctr. (Netherlands)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7731:
Space Telescopes and Instrumentation 2010: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter Wave
Jacobus M. Oschmann; Mark C. Clampin; Howard A. MacEwen, Editor(s)

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