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Session 23 - Science with the Space Interferometry Mission.
Oral session, Wednesday, January 07
International Ballroom Center,

[23.02] An Introduction to the Space Interferometry Mission

S. C. Unwin, J. W. Yu, M. Shao (JPL)

The Space Interferometry Mission will be the first spatial long-baseline optical interferometer in space. SIM is the first new mission in NASA's Origins program, following SIRTF. It is designed to perform wide-angle astrometry with 4 \muarcsec precision on objects as faint as V = 20, as well as synthesis imaging with 10 milliarcsec resolution, and interferometric nulling. As an example, this level of precision allows SIM to measure stellar parallax distances to 10%, and transverse velocities to 200 m/s, out to the far side of the Galaxy.

This talk will explain the design and operation of this first-of-a kind mission. Precision astrometry is achieved by monitoring the fringe pattern on the detector, while a laser metrology system measures the delay difference between the light paths through the instrument. Imaging is done by rotational synthesis, analogous to the technique used by ground-based radio interferometer arrays. The basic architecture and observing techniques of SIM are scalable to much larger deployed structures in planned future missions.

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Program listing for Wednesday