AAS 195th Meeting, January 2000
Session 88. Space Missions and Techniques
Display, Friday, January 14, 2000, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[88.07] The Uniqueness Space for SPIRIT and SPECS

D. Leisawitz, J.C. Mather, S.H. Moseley, Jr. (NASA GSFC), W. Danchi (UC Berkeley), E. Dwek, D. Gezari, J. Pedelty, R. Silverberg (NASA GSFC), J. Staguhn (U Maryland), H. Yorke (NASA JPL), X. Zhang (Raytheon - NASA GSFC)

The far IR/submillimeter region is unique in the electromagnetic spectrum in its potential for vast increases in sensitivity and angular resolution, and, as a result, information vital to our understanding of the evolution of structure in the universe. Because galaxy formation and significant evolution are believed to occur at redshifts z < 4, this spectral window will contain their thermal dust emission and energetically important interstellar gas cooling line emission. The {\em Space Infrared Interferometry Trailblazer} (SPIRIT) and the {\em Submillimeter Probe of the Evolution of Cosmic Structure} (SPECS) are proposed space-based cryogenic imaging and spectral Michelson interferometers that operate in the wavelength range 40 - 500 \mum. SPIRIT would be built on a deployable, rotating boom, giving access to baseline lengths of ~30 m and shorter. At the corresponding angular resolution (1.8 arcsec at 250 \mum), it is estimated from galaxy count models fitted to IRAS, ISO, and JCMT/SCUBA observations that SPIRIT would break the confusion barrier, enabling measurements of the spectra of individual high-z galaxies. SPIRIT could be operating before 2010, setting the stage for SPECS in the 2013 - 2020 time frame. Using multiple spacecraft, SPECS will achieve maximum baseline lengths of about 1 km and attain Next Generation Space Telescope (NGST) and Atacama Large Millimeter Array (ALMA)-class angular resolution (50 mas at 250 \mum). SPECS would have the ability to probe dust-enshrouded star forming regions and measure physical conditions in galaxies going back to the epoch of their formation. A typical SPECS observation will be as information rich as the Hubble Deep Field in the spatial domain. With its simultaneous spectral resolution of ~10,000, its discovery space will be huge. The scientific uniqueness of SPIRIT and SPECS is discussed, and the measurement capabilities currently envisioned for these instruments are compared with those of the complementary next-generation instruments NGST and ALMA.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.gsfc.nasa.gov/astro/specs. This link was provided by the author. When you follow it, you will leave the Web site for this meeting; to return, you should use the Back comand on your browser.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: mailto:leisawitz@stars.gsfc.nasa.gov

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