AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 23 Future Space Missions
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[23.06] The Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey (MAPS) mission

B. Dorland, N. Zacharias, R. Gaume, K. Johnston, G. Hennessy (USNO), V. Makarov (Caltech), C. Rollins (RSI)

The Milli-Arcsecond Pathfinder Survey (MAPS) is a U.S. Naval Observatory-proposed astrometric survey mission designed to observe tens of millions of stars (and other objects) in the magnitude range 2—14, with a reference accuracy of < 1 milliarcsecond (mas) position, < 1 mas/year proper motion, and < 1 mas parallax. For the about 118,000 Hipparcos stars, new proper motions on the 0.1 mas/yr level are expected when combining the 1 mas Hipparcos positions at 1991.25 with MAPS data.

The instrument consists of a 15-cm, all reflective telescope and large format, 8k x 8k active pixel sensor (APS) detector. The instrument will observe a one square degree field of view (FOV), operating in a step-stare mode. The payload will be carried on a modular, microsatellite bus and deployed into low earth orbit in the 2009 time-frame, with a 2—3 year mission life.

Astrometry at the 1 mas level for the 2010 epoch to 14th magnitude enables astrophysical research not possible from the ground. MAPS will support a wide variety of astrophysics research. This includes astrometric detection of potential planets in nearby systems (e.g. Barnard’s, Kapteyn’s stars), detection of long-period, low-mass black holes in accelerating Hipparcos binaries, a search for recent Galactic mergers, analysis of the internal dynamics of nearby open clusters (Hyades, Pleiades, Coma Berenices, et al.), dynamics of pre-main-sequence stars in the nearest star forming regions, quantification of binarity and kinematics of solar neighborhood stars and measurements of distance to the Pleiades and other clusters as cosmic distance scale calibrators.

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