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28 July 2008 Earth-like planets: science performance predictions for future nulling interferometry missions
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With the launch of planet-transit missions such as CoRoT and Kepler, it is expected that Earth-sized planets orbiting distant stars will be detected soon. This milestone will open the path towards the definition of missions able to study the atmosphere of Earth-sized extrasolar planets, with the identification of bio-signatures as one of the main objectives. In that respect, both the European Space Agency (ESA) and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) have identified nulling interferometry as one of the most promising techniques. Trying to minimize the cost and the technological risks while maximizing the scientific return, ESA and NASA recently converged towards a single mission architecture, the Emma X-array. In this paper, we present the expected science performance of this concept computed with two independent mission simulators. The impact of different observational parameters such as planet radius and exozodiacal cloud density is specifically addressed.
© (2008) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
D. Defrère, O. Lay, R. den Hartog, and O. Absil "Earth-like planets: science performance predictions for future nulling interferometry missions", Proc. SPIE 7013, Optical and Infrared Interferometry, 701321 (28 July 2008);

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