From Event: SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications, 2017
A milestone in understanding life in the universe is the detection of biosignature gases in the atmospheres of habitable exoplanets. Future mission concepts under study by the 2020 decadal survey, e.g., HabEx and LUVOIR, have the potential of achieving this goal. We investigate the baseline requirements for detecting four molecular species, H2O, O2, CH4, and CO2. These molecules are highly relevant to habitability and life activity on Earth and other planets. Through numerical simulations, we find the minimum requirement for spectral resolution (R) and starlight suppression level (C) for a given exposure time. We consider scenarios in which different molecules are detected. For example, R = 6400 (400) and C = 5 × 10−10 (2 × 10−9 ) are required for HabEx (LUVOIR) to detect O2 and H2O for an exposure time of 400 hours for an Earth analog around a solar-type star at a distance of 5 pc. The full results are given in Table 2. The impact of exo-zodiacal contamination and thermal background is also discussed
Ji Wang, Dimitri Mawet, Garreth Ruane, Jacques-Robert Delorme, Nikita Klimovich, and Renyu Hu, "Baseline requirements for detecting biosignatures with the HabEx and LUVOIR mission concepts," Proc. SPIE 10400, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VIII, 104000Z (Presented at SPIE Optical Engineering + Applications: August 09, 2017; Published: 1 September 2017); https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2275222.
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