AAS 197, January 2001
Session 70. The Formation, Evolution and Detection of Habitable Planets
Special Session Oral, Tuesday, January 9, 2001, 8:00pm, San Diego

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[70.03] Terrestrial Planet Finder: Architectures and Search Strategy

S. T. Ridgway (NOAO), SVS-Boeing TPF Team

The SVS-Boeing TPF team will present conclusions from its review of the science and mission requirements for detection and preliminary investigation of terrestrial exo-planets. We will note areas for potential ambiguity in exo-planet detections, both in distinguishing planets from background and foreground sources, and in the interpretation of exo-planetary system features. A possibly lengthy re-visit observing sequence is required for orbit determination and other reasons. Of the key exo-planet characteristics, interpretation of the temperature indicators is critical and probably difficult, and drives a wish for the largest possible wavelength coverage in detection observations, including if possible bands in both the emission and reflection regions.

Beyond specific exo-earth studies, TPF has the potential to provide a scientifically rich return of information on the configuration of exo-planet systems. Most architectures also offer a strong potential for other astrophysical studies.

The team will describe its position on important science pre-cursors for TPF. We will summarize the results from studies of a number of candidate TPF mission architectures, including alternative and reduced-scope concepts, and describe plans for continuing, in-depth study of two architectures.

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