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Proceedings Paper

The Fourier-Kelvin Stellar Interferometer (FKSI) - infrared detection and characterization of exozodiacal dust to super-earths: a progress report
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Paper Abstract

The Fourier-Kelvin Stellar Interferometer (FKSI) is a structurally connected infrared space interferometer with 0.5 m diameter telescopes on a 12.5 m baseline, and is passively cooled to ~ 60K. The FKSI operates in the thermal infrared from 3-8 μm in a nulling (starlight suppressing) mode for the detection and characterization of exoplanets, debris disks, and extrasolar zodiacal dust levels. The FKSI will have the highest angular resolution of any infrared space instrument ever made with its nominal resolution of 40 mas at a 5 μm center wavelength. This resolution exceeds that of Spitzer by a factor of 38 and JWST by a factor of 5. The FKSI mission is conceived as a "probe class" or "mid-sized" strategic mission that utilizes technology advances from flagship projects like JWST, SIM, Spitzer, and the technology programs of TPF-I/Darwin. During the past year we began investigating an enhanced version of FKSI with 1-2 m diameter telescopes, passively cooled to 40K, on a 20-m baseline, with a sunshade giving a ± 45 degree Field-of-Regard. This enhanced design is capable of detecting and characterizing the atmospheres of many 2 Earth-radius super-Earths and a few Earth-twins. We will report progress on the design of the enhanced mission concept and current status of the technologies needed for this mission.

Paper Details

Date Published: 21 July 2010
PDF: 10 pages
Proc. SPIE 7734, Optical and Infrared Interferometry II, 77340M (21 July 2010); doi: 10.1117/12.858129
Show Author Affiliations
W. C. Danchi, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)
R. K. Barry, NASA Goddard Space Flight Ctr. (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 7734:
Optical and Infrared Interferometry II
William C. Danchi; Françoise Delplancke; Jayadev K. Rajagopal, Editor(s)

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