ESA Voyage 2050 White Paper: Detecting Life Outside Our Solar System With A Large High-contrast-imaging Mission


The HabEx and LUVOIR concept designs (credit: LUVOIR Final, and HabEx Interim Reports).

In this white paper, we recommend the European Space Agency plays a proactive role in developing a global collaborative effort to construct a large high-contrast imaging space telescope, e.g. as currently under study by NASA.

Such a mission will be needed to characterize a sizable sample of temperate Earth-like planets in the habitable zones of nearby Sun-like stars and to search for extraterrestrial biological activity. We provide an overview of relevant European expertise, and advocate ESA to start a technology development program towards detecting life outside the Solar system.

Ignas Snellen, Simon Albrecht, Guillem Anglada-Escude, Isabelle Baraffe, Pierre Baudoz, Willy Benz, Jean-Luc Beuzit, Beth Biller, Jayne Birkby, Anthony Boccaletti, Roy van Boekel, Jos de Boer, Matteo Brogi, Lars Buchhave, Ludmila Carone, Mark Claire, Riccardo Claudi, Brice-Olivier Demory, Jean-Michel Desert, Silvano Desidera, Scott Gaudi, Raffaele Gratton, Michael Gillon, John Lee Grenfell, Olivier Guyon, Thomas Henning, Sasha Hinkley, Elsa Huby, Markus Janson, Christiane Helling, Kevin Heng, Markus Kasper, Christoph Keller, Matthew Kenworthy, Oliver Krause, Laura Kreidberg, Nikku Madhusudhan, Anne-Marie Lagrange, Ralf Launhardt, Tim Lenton, Manuel Lopez-Puertas, Anne-Lise Maire, Nathan Mayne, Victoria Meadows, Bertrand Mennesson, Giuseppina Micela, Yamila Miguel, Julien Milli, Michiel Min, Ernst de Mooij, David Mouillet, Mamadou N'Diaye, Valentina D'Orazi, Enric Palle, Isabella Pagano, Giampaolo Piotto, Didier Queloz, Heike Rauer, Ignasi Ribas, Garreth Ruane, Franck Selsis, Frans Snik, Alessandro Sozzetti, Daphne Stam, Christopher Stark, Arthur Vigan, Pieter de Visser
(Submitted on 5 Aug 2019)

Comments: White paper for ESA Voyage 2050; 24 pages
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1908.01803 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1908.01803v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Ignas Snellen
[v1] Mon, 5 Aug 2019 18:56:11 UTC (1,183 KB)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.01803
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