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20 June 2006 Darwin: a mission overview
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Darwin is a mission under study by the European Space Agency, ESA. The mission objectives are detection and characterization of exo-planets, with special emphasize on the planets likely to harbour earthlike life. The mission cancels the light from the target star by nulling interferometry, while the light collected from any orbiting planets will interfere constructively. In this way absorption features in the planetary light can be detected and analysed. In the preceding years ESA has developed the required technology and elaborated on and evaluated different mission concepts with the aim of reducing over-all mission cost. This has resulted in a number of mission architectures, and various interferometric beam recombination techniques. To consolidate the study results two parallel mission assessment studies were initiated September 2005, taking benefit from the large number of technology developments as conducted since 2000. This article reviews the Darwin mission and its architecture evolution from the feasibility study up to the currently ongoing system assessment studies.
© (2006) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
A. Karlsson, L. d'Arcio, R. den Hartog, and M. Fridlund "Darwin: a mission overview", Proc. SPIE 6265, Space Telescopes and Instrumentation I: Optical, Infrared, and Millimeter, 62651O (20 June 2006);


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