AAS 203rd Meeting, January 2004
Session 3 Space Missions: Planet Finding, Astrobiology and Others
Poster, Monday, January 5, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Grand Hall

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[3.08] The New World Observer: Scientific rationale for detecting biomarkers between the UV and near infrared

S. Seager (Carnegie Institution of Washington), E. Wilkinson, W. Cash (University of Colorado)

The New World Observer(NWO) is a distributed instrument concept designed for UV/visible wavelength spectroscopy of extrasolar planets and was submitted in response to the NASA "Vision Mission" announcement of opportunity. NWO is essentially a pinhole camera where the "pinhole" and the "detector" are separate, formation flying spacecraft separated by ~180,000 km. The size of the "pinhole" and distance from the "detector" spacecraft are optimized for isolating the image of an Earth-like planet from it's parent star at the focal plane and minimizing the time necessary to acquire a low-resolution spectrum of the planet.

We present the scientific rationale behind observing in the UV/visible/near-IR portion of the electromagnetic spectrum and simulations of potential spectra. We discuss the biomarkers that exist from UV wavelengths through 2 microns, including, but not limited to, water, oxygen, ozone, nitrous oxide, and methane, and possible interpretations that can be derived from detections of these biomarkers. Also discussed are the effects of vegetation, weather, and planetary rotation. Simulations of observed spectra assume different instrument configurations and explore the sensitivity of NWO to a variety of biomarkers. Ultimately, the simulations demonstrate the power of the NWO concept for acquiring high quality spectra of Earth-like planets out to tens of parsecs.

If you would like more information about this abstract, please follow the link to http://www.ciw.edu/seager. 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#5
© 2003. The American Astronomical Soceity.