The Exo-S probe class starshade mission

Sara Seager, Margaret Turnbull, William Sparks, Mark Thomson, Stuart B. Shaklan, Aki Roberge, Marc Kuchner, N. Jeremy Kasdin, Shawn Domagal-Goldman, Webster Cash, Keith Warfield, Doug Lisman, Dan Scharf, David Webb, Rachel Trabert, Stefan Martin, Eric Cady, Cate Heneghan

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

29 Scopus citations

Abstract

Exo-S is a direct imaging space-based mission to discover and characterize exoplanets. With its modest size, Exo-S bridges the gap between census missions like Kepler and a future space-based flagship direct imaging exoplanet mission. With the ability to reach down to Earth-size planets in the habitable zones of nearly two dozen nearby stars, Exo-S is a powerful first step in the search for and identification of Earth-like planets. Compelling science can be returned at the same time as the technological and scientific framework is developed for a larger flagship mission. The Exo-S Science and Technology Definition Team studied two viable starshade-telescope missions for exoplanet direct imaging, targeted to the $1B cost guideline. The first Exo-S mission concept is a starshade and telescope system dedicated to each other for the sole purpose of direct imaging for exoplanets (The "Starshade Dedicated Mission"). The starshade and commercial, 1.1-m diameter telescope co-launch, sharing the same low-cost launch vehicle, conserving cost. The Dedicated mission orbits in a heliocentric, Earth leading, Earth-drift away orbit. The telescope has a conventional instrument package that includes the planet camera, a basic spectrometer, and a guide camera. The second Exo-S mission concept is a starshade that launches separately to rendezvous with an existing on-orbit space telescope (the "Starshade Rendezvous Mission"). The existing telescope adopted for the study is the WFIRST-AFTA (Wide-Field Infrared Survey Telescope Astrophysics Focused Telescope Asset). The WFIRST-AFTA 2.4-m telescope is assumed to have previously launched to a Halo orbit about the Earth-Sun L2 point, away from the gravity gradient of Earth orbit which is unsuitable for formation flying of the starshade and telescope. The impact on WFIRST-AFTA for starshade readiness is minimized; the existing coronagraph instrument performs as the starshade science instrument, while formation guidance is handled by the existing coronagraph focal planes with minimal modification and an added transceiver.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII
EditorsStuart Shaklan
PublisherSPIE
ISBN (Electronic)9781628417715
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 10 2015Aug 13 2015

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering
Volume9605
ISSN (Print)0277-786X
ISSN (Electronic)1996-756X

Other

OtherTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII
CountryUnited States
CitySan Diego
Period8/10/158/13/15

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering

Keywords

  • Exo-S
  • exoplanets
  • external occulter
  • high contrast imaging
  • starshade

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  • Cite this

    Seager, S., Turnbull, M., Sparks, W., Thomson, M., Shaklan, S. B., Roberge, A., Kuchner, M., Kasdin, N. J., Domagal-Goldman, S., Cash, W., Warfield, K., Lisman, D., Scharf, D., Webb, D., Trabert, R., Martin, S., Cady, E., & Heneghan, C. (2015). The Exo-S probe class starshade mission. In S. Shaklan (Ed.), Techniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets VII [96050W] (Proceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering; Vol. 9605). SPIE. https://doi.org/10.1117/12.2190378