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Nautilus Observatory: a space telescope array based on very large aperture ultralight diffractive optical elements
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Paper Abstract

We describe a novel space observatory concept that is enabled by very large (8.5m-diameter), ultralight-weight multi-order diffractive lenses that can be cost-effectively replicated. The observatory utilizes an array of identical telescopes with a total combined light collecting area equivalent to that of a 50m-diameter telescope. Here we review the capabilities of a Nautilus unit telescope, the observatory concept, and the technology readiness of the key components. The Nautilus Observatory is capable of surveying a thousand transiting exo-earth candidates to 300 pc for biosignatures, enabling a rigorous statistical exploration of potentially life-bearing planets and the diversity of exo-earths.

Paper Details

Date Published: 9 September 2019
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 11116, Astronomical Optics: Design, Manufacture, and Test of Space and Ground Systems II, 1111608 (9 September 2019); doi: 10.1117/12.2529428
Show Author Affiliations
Dániel Apai, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Tom D. Milster, James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences (United States)
Dae Wook Kim, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences (United States)
Alex Bixel, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Glenn Schneider, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Benjamin V. Rackham, The Univ. of Arizona (United States)
Rongguang Liang, James C. Wyant College of Optical Sciences (United States)
Jonathan Arenberg, Northrop Grumman Aerospace Systems (United States)


Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 11116:
Astronomical Optics: Design, Manufacture, and Test of Space and Ground Systems II
Tony B. Hull; Dae Wook Kim; Pascal Hallibert, Editor(s)

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