Astronomy & Telescopes

The Origins Space Telescope: Towards An Understanding of Temperate Planetary Atmospheres

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
March 21, 2018
Filed under
The Origins Space Telescope: Towards An Understanding of Temperate Planetary Atmospheres
Origins Space Telescope

The Origins Space Telescope (OST) is one of four mission concepts currently being studied by NASA in preparation for the Astrophysics 2020 Decadal Survey.

With active cooling (~4 K), OST will be sensitive in mid- to far-IR wavelengths, using imaging and spectroscopy to probe the furthest reaches of our galaxies, trace the path of water through star and planet formation, and place thermochemical constraints on the atmospheres of exoplanets ranging in size from Jupiter to Earth. This contribution to the Exoplanet Science Strategy committee discusses the significant advancements that the OST Mid-Infrared Imager, Spectrometer, and Coronagraph (MISC) instrument can make in studying cool planetary atmospheres.

We particularly focus on the atmospheres of transiting rocky planets in the habitable zones of mid-to-late M stars. We discuss how OST thermal infrared observations can significantly enhance our understanding of the temperature structure and molecular abundances of biologically interesting gases on these worlds, including O3, CH4, H2O, and CO2.

Jonathan Fortney, Tiffany Kataria, Kevin Stevenson, Robert Zellem, Eric Nielsen, Pablo Cuartas-Restrepo, Eric Gaidos, Edwin Bergin, Margaret Meixner, Stephen Kane, Leisawitz David, Jonathan Fraine, Lisa Kaltenegger, Angelle Tanner, Mercedes Lopez-Morales, Tom Greene, William Danchi, Keivan Stassun, Ravi Kopparapu, Eric Wolf, Tiffany Meshkat, Natalie Hinkel, Klaus Pontoppidan, Chuanfei Dong, Giovanni Bruno, Dawn Gelino, Vladimir Airapetian, Eric Agol, Drake Deming, Jacob Haqq-Misra, Niki Parenteau, Carey Lisse, Gregory Tucker, Prabal Saxena, Robin Wordsworth, Geoffrey Blake, Shannon Curry, Zachory Berta-Thompson, Malcolm Fridlund, Kate Su, Peter Gao, Vardan Adibekyan, Nicholas Heavens, Dante Minniti, Sarah Rugheimer, Benjamin Rackham, Kathleen Mandt, Miguel de Val-Borro, Tyler Robinson
(Submitted on 21 Mar 2018)

Comments: White paper submitted to The National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine Exoplanet Science Strategy Committee
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1803.07730 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1803.07730v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jonathan J. Fortney
[v1] Wed, 21 Mar 2018 03:25:14 GMT (477kb)

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻