AAS 201st Meeting, January, 2003
Session 19. Interferometer
Poster, Monday, January 6, 2003, 9:20am-6:30pm, Exhibit Hall AB

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[19.02] TPF Coronagraph and Interferometer Approaches -- A Current View of Their Comparative Technology Challenges

S. Kilston, R. Linfield, M. C. Noecker (Ball Aerospace), E. Serabyn (Jet Propulsion Laboratory)

The next few years will see development of Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) technology elements, preparatory to selecting either an infrared interferometer or a visible-light coronagraph for the TPF operational concept. For it to detect and characterize extrasolar planets TPF must suppress the effects of direct light from a planet's star. Key TPF performance parameters include inner working angle, required integration time, and spectral range, both for initial searches of nearby potential planetary systems and for subsequent detection of identified planets' spectral features. Critical TPF technology capabilities include optics and wavefront control needed for adequate nulling or coronagraphic starlight-suppression, large-optics manufacturability, uniformity of optical coatings, thermal and vibrational disturbance control, attitude control, system testability on the ground and validation with space precursors, and deployment and operational reliability beyond Earth orbit. We present here our views of the current status of technologies and their potential improvements over the time frame projected for developing an eventual flight system capable of performing the full TPF mission.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: skilston@ball.com

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