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16 September 2015 Initial look at the coronagraph technology gaps for direct imaging of exo-earths
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NASA's Astrophysics Division plans to initiate mission concept studies in 2016 of large candidate astrophysics missions for consideration by the 2020 Decadal Survey. The studies are expected to include two mission concepts capable of directly imaging exo-earths (HabEx and LUVOIR). Direct imaging of an exo-earth begins with starlight suppression, which is required at a depth of 10-10 in the visible for an earth-sun twin. The current results of laboratory coronagraphs are approaching the levels needed for the direct detection and characterization of an exo-earth. Other critical technologies are needed, such as ultra-low noise detectors, large format deformable mirrors, a large aperture space telescope, and sophisticated post-processing algorithms. While technologically challenging, the goal is not impossible; many of the required technologies are already at TRL 3 and beyond. After the successful on-orbit operation of WFIRST-AFTA in the next decade, some of the technologies will be at TRL 9. This paper summarizes the needed technologies that NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program is prioritizing for maturation.
© (2015) COPYRIGHT Society of Photo-Optical Instrumentation Engineers (SPIE). Downloading of the abstract is permitted for personal use only.
Rhonda Morgan and Nick Siegler "Initial look at the coronagraph technology gaps for direct imaging of exo-earths", Proc. SPIE 9605, Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII, 96052I (16 September 2015);

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