19 August 2009 Balloon exoplanet nulling interferometer (BENI)
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We evaluate the feasibility of a balloon-borne nulling interferometer to detect and characterize an exosolar planet and the surrounding debris disk. The existing instrument consists of a three-telescope Fizeau imaging interferometer with thre fast steering mirrors and three delay lines operating at 800 Hz for closed-loop control of wavefront errors and fine pointing. A compact visible nulling interferometer would be coupled to the imaging interferometer and in principle, allows deep starlight suppression. Atmospheric simulations of the environment above 100,000 feet show that balloonborne payloads are a possible path towards the direct detection and characterization of a limited set of exoplanets and debris disks. Furthermore, rapid development of lower cost balloon payloads provide a path towards advancement of NASA technology readiness levels for future space-based exoplanet missions. Discussed are the BENI mission and instrument, the balloon environment and the feasibility of such a balloon-borne mission.
© (2009) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Richard G. Lyon, Richard G. Lyon, Mark Clampin, Mark Clampin, Robert A. Woodruff, Robert A. Woodruff, Gopal Vasudevan, Gopal Vasudevan, Holland Ford, Holland Ford, Larry Petro, Larry Petro, Jay Herman, Jay Herman, Stephen Rinehart, Stephen Rinehart, Kenneth Carpenter, Kenneth Carpenter, Joe Marzouk, Joe Marzouk, } "Balloon exoplanet nulling interferometer (BENI)", Proc. SPIE 7440, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets IV, 74401A (19 August 2009); doi: 10.1117/12.827411; https://doi.org/10.1117/12.827411


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