DPS 2001 meeting, November 2001
Session 57. Future Missions and Instruments posters
Displayed, 9:00am Tuesday - 3:00pm Saturday, Highlighted, Saturday, December 1, 2001, 2:00-2:30pm, French Market Exhibit Hall

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[57.08] MUSE: Searching for Biomarkers in a Life-Bearing Planet

G.R. Davis (U Saskatchewan), S.B. Calcutt (U Oxford), J.R. Drummond (U Toronto), D.A. Naylor (U Lethbridge), A.J. Penny (Rutherford Appleton Laboratory), S. Seager (Institute of Advanced Study)

Future space missions such as Darwin (ESA) and the Terrestrial Planet Finder (NASA) will measure the infrared spectra of extrasolar planets using nulling interferometry. Their primary objective is to search for evidence of life through the biological modification of atmospheric composition.

These missions will, of necessity, obtain spectra which are spatially integrated over the visible hemisphere of the target planet. Interpretation of these spectra will be challenging because they will depend on several imponderable factors: the axial inclination of the planet to the line of sight, the illumination of the planet by its parent star, the planet's seasonal and climatic states, etc. Finally there will also be variable components due to planetary rotation and the possible presence of satellites.

In order to investigate the interpretation of such spectra and to guide the design of future missions to obtain them, the Canadian Space Agency has funded a Concept Study of a mission called MUSE (Measurements of the Unresolved Spectrum of the Earth). MUSE will measure the spatially-unresolved spectrum of the present-day Earth from a substantial distance, for various Sun-Earth-satellite configurations, and for a full range of seasons. The scientific context for the study and the baseline design of the mission will be presented.

This study is funded by the Canadian Space Agency, CRESTech, the University of Lethbridge and the University of Saskatchewan.

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