DPS 35th Meeting, 1-6 September 2003
Session 18. Extra Solar Planets II
Poster, Highlighted on, Wednesday, September 3, 2003, 3:00-5:30pm, Sierra Ballroom I-II

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[18.10] Planetary Science and the Terrestrial Planet Finder Mission

V. S. Meadows, C. Dumas, S. Unwin, D. Crisp (JPL/Caltech), Terrestrial Planet Finder Science Working Group Team

The Terrestrial Planet Finder Mission (TPF), is a cornerstone mission of the NASA Origins Program, and is currently scheduled for launch in the 2015 time frame. The principal scientific goal of the TPF mission is to detect and characterize terrestrial planets in the habitable zones of nearby stars, and to search for planetary-scale photometric and spectroscopic signs of habitability and life. NASA is studying two competing mission architecture concepts, a visible light coronagraph, and a mid-infrared nulling interferometer. One of these two concepts will be selected for the mission in 2006. (See the accompanying poster by C. Lindensmith et al. for more details on TPF design and technical development).

TPF will study all aspects of extrasolar terrestrial and Jovian planets, from their formation and development in disks of dust and gas around newly forming stars, to the population statistics and bulk characteristics of the solar systems around the nearest stars. These observations will also allow us to address broader questions of the frequency of habitable planets, and to place our solar system in context with others. Once planets have been detected, the brightest candidates will be followed-up with spectroscopy, to characterize planetary physical parameters, atmospheric and surface composition, and search for indicators of habitability and life. TPF will also characterize mass and temperature distribution within planet-forming disks surrounding young stars to provide better constraints on physical processes of planet formation. Much of TPF science will overlap with existing observational and theoretical fields in planetary science.

This poster will provide an overview of the science goals and requirements for TPF, and will describe opportunities for planetary science community involvement in TPF precursor science.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://tpf.jpl.nasa.gov. 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.

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Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society, 35 #4
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.