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Critical, Strategic Importance of Adaptive Optics-Assisted Ground-Based Telescopes for the Success of Future NASA Exoplanet Direct Imaging Missions

Status Report From: arXiv.org e-Print archive
Posted: Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Thayne Currie (NASA-Ames Research Center), Ruslan Belikov (NASA-Ames Research Center), Olivier Guyon (Subaru Telescope), N. Jeremy Kasdin (Princeton University), Christian Marois (NRC-Herzberg), Mark S. Marley (NASA-Ames Research Center), Kerri Cahoy (Massachusetts Institute of Technology), Dimitri Mawet (California Institute of Technology), Michael McElwain (NASA-Goddard Spaceflight Center), Eduardo Bendek (NASA-Ames Research Center), Marc J. Kuchner (NASA-Goddard Spaceflight Center), Michael R. Meyer (University of Michigan), S. Mark Ammons (Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory), Julien Girard (Space Telescope Science Institute), Yasuhiro Hasegawa (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Mercedes Lopez-Morales (Center for Astrophysics | Harvard \& Smithsonian), Wladimir Lyra (California State University-Northridge/Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Ben Mazin (University of California-Santa Barbara), Bertrand Mennesson (Jet Propulsion Laboratory), Chris Packham (University of Texas-San Antonio), Tyler Robinson (Northern Arizona University)

(Submitted on 11 Mar 2019)

Ground-based telescopes coupled with adaptive optics (AO) have been playing a leading role in exoplanet direct imaging science and technological development for the past two decades and will continue to have an indispensable role for the next decade and beyond. Over the next decade, extreme AO systems on 8-10m telescopes will 1) mitigate risk for WFIRST-CGI by identifying numerous planets the mission can spectrally characterize, 2) validate performance requirements and motivate improvements to atmosphere models needed to unambiguously characterize solar system-analogues from space, and 3) mature novel technological innovations useful for space. Extremely Large Telescopes can deliver the first thermal infrared (10 μm) images of rocky planets around Sun-like stars and identify biomarkers. These data provide a future NASA direct imaging flagship mission (i.e. HabEx, LUVOIR) with numerous exo-Earth candidates and critical ancillary information to help clarify whether these planets are habitable.

Comments: 5 pages, 3 figures; Astro2020 Decadal Survey submission; argues for strategic NASA support of ground-based exoplanet direct imaging science programs and tech development. arXiv admin note: substantial text overlap with arXiv:1803.05453

Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Solar and Stellar Astrophysics (astro-ph.SR)

Cite as: arXiv:1903.05468 [astro-ph.EP]

  (or arXiv:1903.05468v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)

Submission history

From: Thayne Currie [view email] 

[v1] Mon, 11 Mar 2019 18:00:00 UTC (1,235 KB)

https://arxiv.org/abs/1903.05468

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