Part of the President's new vision for space exploration is for NASA to ``conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars." The Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF) is designed to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars, and to perform low-resolution spectroscopy of detected planets, to search for possible chemical and biological signatures of life. This session on TPF has two objectives:
(1) to update the community on science objectives for TPF, and to discuss an important - and exciting - development in the TPF Project. To meet the Vision for Exploration, NASA has chosen to fly *two* separate missions to achieve the goal of the Terrestrial Planet Finder: TPF-C: a moderate-sized visible-light coronagraph, to launch around 2014, and TPF-I: multiple spacecraft carrying 3 to 4-m mid-IR telescopes operating as a nulling interferometer. Scientific collaboration continues with ESA astronomers on a joint Darwin/TPF-I mission. We will cover the rationale for this approach, the scientific benefits of obtaining planet spectra in two wavebands, and provide a brief status and plans for the two missions.
(2) to alert the community to continuing opportunities for research on scientific problems related to TPF and the field of extra-solar planet research. In particular, the NASA ROSS program includes 'TPF preparatory Science', covering a wide range of observations, modeling and theory topics.
Science community input on all aspects of TPF are encouraged, and this meeting will include plenty of time for discussion. We expect many people will also wish to attend the SIM meeting on observing opportunities which follows, so we plan to cater a light dinner. Details will be provided later. Information on TPF is available at the following URL: http://planetquest Organized by Steve Unwin: email@example.com