Astronomy & Telescopes

EarthFinder Probe Mission Concept Study: Characterizing Nearby Stellar Exoplanet Systems With Earth-mass Analogs For Future Direct Imaging

By Keith Cowing
Press Release
June 24, 2020
Filed under
EarthFinder Probe Mission Concept Study: Characterizing Nearby Stellar Exoplanet Systems With Earth-mass Analogs For Future Direct Imaging
EarthFinder Probe Mission

EarthFinder is a NASA Astrophysics Probe mission concept selected for study as input to the 2020 Astrophysics National Academies Decadal Survey. The EarthFinder concept is based on a dramatic shift in our understanding of how PRV measurements should be made.

We propose a new paradigm which brings the high precision, high cadence domain of transit photometry as demonstrated by Kepler and TESS to the challenges of PRV measurements at the cm/s level. This new paradigm takes advantage of: 1) broad wavelength coverage from the UV to NIR which is only possible from space to minimize the effects of stellar activity; 2) extremely compact, highly stable, highly efficient spectrometers (R>150,000) which require the diffraction-limited imaging possible only from space over a broad wavelength range; 3) the revolution in laser-based wavelength standards to ensure cm/s precision over many years; 4) a high cadence observing program which minimizes sampling-induced period aliases; 5) exploiting the absolute flux stability from space for continuum normalization for unprecedented line-by-line analysis not possible from the ground; and 6) focusing on the bright stars which will be the targets of future imaging missions so that EarthFinder can use a ~1.5 m telescope.

Peter Plavchan, Gautam Vasisht, Chas Beichman, Heather Cegla, Xavier Dumusque, Sharon Wang, Peter Gao, Courtney Dressing, Fabienne Bastien, Sarbani Basu, Thomas Beatty, Andrew Bechter, Eric Bechter, Cullen Blake, Vincent Bourrier, Bryson Cale, David Ciardi, Jonathan Crass, Justin Crepp, Katherine de Kleer, Scott Diddams, Jason Eastman, Debra Fischer, Jonathan Gagné, Scott Gaudi, Catherine Grier, Richard Hall, Sam Halverson, Bahaa Hamze, Enrique Herrero Casas, Andrew Howard, Eliza Kempton, Natasha Latouf, Stephanie Leifer, Paul Lightsey, Casey Lisse, Emily Martin, William Matzko, Dimitri Mawet, Andrew Mayo, Patrick Newman, Scott Papp, Benjamin Pope, Bill Purcell, Sam Quinn, Ignasi Ribas, Albert Rosich, Sophia Sanchez-Maes, Angelle Tanner, Samantha Thompson, Kerry Vahala, Ji Wang, Peter Williams, Alex Wise, Jason Wright
Comments: NASA Probe Mission concept white paper for 2020 Astrophysics National Academies Decadal Survey
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:2006.13428 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2006.13428v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Peter Plavchan
[v1] Wed, 24 Jun 2020 02:19:21 UTC (6,438 KB)

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) 🖖🏻