AAS 199th meeting, Washington, DC, January 2002
Session 9. Space Interferometry and Planet Finders
Display, Monday, January 7, 2002, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall

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[9.07] A Moon Based Telescope To Detect and Image Extrasolar Planets

Y. Kondo, R.J. Oliversen, P. Lowman (NASA GSFC), P.C. Chen (CMA & NASA GSFC)

A Moon-based telescope, suitably configured and equipped, can be employed as a low cost precursor to the Terrestrial Planet Finder mission. The concept is based in part on the ideas of Nisenson and Papaliolios (ApJ. Lett. 548:L201-205, 2001).

The Moon is a highly stable observing platform. An advanced non-contact cryogenic bearing mechanism can provide super precise tracking and pointing. The telescope can use field rotation caused by lunar diurnal motion to sweep the optical diffraction pattern around a target star. The primary mirror is to be square, very lightweight, 1-2 meter on the side, with an off-axis shape. It must also have a highly precise optical figure and a superpolished surface. We suggest how such a mirror can be fabricated -at an affordable cost- using a process currently under development. Some preliminary laboratory test results will be presented.

In addition, a variety of other advanced spacecraft technologies - propulsion, fuel saving trajectories, thermal management, low mass power systems and landers, etc. - can be combined to significantly reduce mission cost.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://snoopy.gsfc.nasa.gov/~lunartel/. 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: kondo@stars.gsfc.nasa.gov

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