19 November 2003 System design and technology development for the Terrestrial Planet Finder infrared interferometer
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This paper describes the technical program that will demonstrate the viability of two mid-infrared nulling interferometer architectures for the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) to support a mission concept downselect in 2006 between a nulling interferometer and a visible coronagraph. The TPF science objectives are to survey a statistically significant number of nearby solar-type stars for radiation from terrestrial planets, to characterize these planets and to perform spectroscopy for detection of biomarkers. A 4-telescope, 36-m Structurally-Connected Interferometer using a dual-chopped Bracewell nuller will meet the minimum science requirement to completely survey at least 30 nearby stars and partially survey 120 others. A Formation-Flying Interferometer is being designed to meet the full science requirement to completely survey at least 150 stars, and involves a trade between dual-chopped Bracewell, degenerate Angel Cross, and the Darwin bow-tie configuration. The system engineering trades for the connected structure and formation-flying architectures are described. The top technical concerns for these architectures are mapped to technology developments that will retire these concerns prior to the project downselect.
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Gary H. Blackwood, Gary H. Blackwood, Eugene Serabyn, Eugene Serabyn, Serge Dubovitsky, Serge Dubovitsky, MiMi Aung, MiMi Aung, Steven M. Gunter, Steven M. Gunter, Curt Henry, Curt Henry, } "System design and technology development for the Terrestrial Planet Finder infrared interferometer", Proc. SPIE 5170, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets, (19 November 2003); doi: 10.1117/12.521311; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.521311

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