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1 Briefing to the CAA on the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF): Finding and Characterizing Earth-like Planets Zlatan Tsvetanov, NASA Program Scientist Charles.

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Presentation on theme: "1 Briefing to the CAA on the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF): Finding and Characterizing Earth-like Planets Zlatan Tsvetanov, NASA Program Scientist Charles."— Presentation transcript:

1 1 Briefing to the CAA on the Terrestrial Planet Finder (TPF): Finding and Characterizing Earth-like Planets Zlatan Tsvetanov, NASA Program Scientist Charles Beichman, TPF Project Scientist Dan Coulter, TPF Project Manager May 18, 2004

2 2 Agenda Zlatan TsvetanovRecent NASA HQ Decisions on TPF Chas BeichmanScience with TPF - Finding and Characterizing Earth-like Planets Dan CoulterTechnology Developments and Project Status Chas Beichman, Mark KuchnerGeneral Astrophysics with TPF

3 3 The 2000 NRC Decadal Review Identifies TPF as One of the Top Priority Projects One of the four strategic elements for achieving the fundamental goal of astronomy is: – “Search for life beyond Earth, and if it is found, determine its nature and its distribution [in the Galaxy]” Decadal Committee recommended investment in TPF technology in the first decade of the New Millennium (2001- 2010) with the expectation of starting the mission in the next decade (2010-2020) – “The committee’s recommendation of this mission is predicated on the assumption that TPF will revolutionize major areas of both planetary and non planetary science and that, prior to the start of TPF, ground- and space-based searches will confirm the expectation that terrestrial planets are common around solar type stars”

4 4 The Vision for Space Exploration Explicitly Incorporates TPF Focus on manned mission to Moon and Mars, robotic exploration of solar system, and search for life around other stars Among ~20 specific goals the President set for NASA is the following: –“Conduct advanced telescope searches for Earth-like planets and habitable environments around other stars” International participation --- “This is not a race …”

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6 6 Astronomy & Physics Division Response to the Vision for Space Exploration Conducted review of TPF program with the goal making the program more robust and bringing it in line with the Vision for Space Exploration Most compelling science --- Data from both wavelength regions provides robust planet characterization, improved assessment of habitability, and confirming biomarkers Deliver results sooner --- The technology appears to be maturing fast and under reasonable assumptions it will be possible to fly a moderate sized coronagraph in 2014 More capable and complementary, later --- Fly a formation flying mid infrared interferometer jointly with ESA later in the next decade International participation supports the Vision for Space Exploration Do both within ORIGINS line with no near term augmentation. The two mission approach provides more science, earlier results, lower (programmatic) risk Combination enables key technologies and provides scientific guidance selection of 2nd generation vision mission(s)

7 7 The Science Case Science Goals TPF-C TPF-I (FFI) TPF-C + TPF-I Detect Earth-like planets 1  Characterize Earth-like planets - biomarkers 2  Characterize Host Planetary Systems 3  General Astrophysics 4  1)TPF-C is limited in resolution. TPF-I reaches further away but sensitivity limited. 2)Both TPF-C and TPF-I can detect biomarkers, but the combination of two offers better determination of physical properties and much more robust detection of life 3)TPF-C performs better on giant outer planets and has less problems separating multiple planets, combination of TPF-C and TPF-I is much better in characterizing the entire planetary system 4)TFP-C appeals to broader community and science topics, but TPF-I opens new and unique parameter space because of greatly improved angular resolution.

8 8 Recent NASA HQ Decisions on TPF Reduce the number of architectures under study from four to two –The moderate sized coronagraph (TPF-C), nominally the 4x6 m version, now under study –The formation flying interferometer (TPF-I/FFI) presently being investigated with ESA –Studies of the other two options: the large, 10-12 m, coronagraph; and the structurally connected interferometer, would be documented and brought to a rapid close Plan to launch BOTH systems within the next 10-15 years –The primary reason for carrying out two missions is the power of combining observations at IR and visible wavelengths to determine the properties of detected planets and to make a reliable and robust determination of habitability and the presence of life Carry out the coronagraphic mission, TPF-C, first with a launch around 2014. Follow with the formation-flying interferometer, TPF-I, to be conducted jointly with ESA and launched by the end of next decade (<2020) –This ordering of missions is subject to the readiness of critical technologies and availability of funding In the estimation of NASA HQ and the TPF project, the science, the technology, the political will, and the budgetary resources are in place to support this plan Prepare for a review of these plans for TPF by the Committee for Astronomy and Astrophysics (CAA) over the summer In response to a statement by the Origins Subcommittee, plan to compete the Science Center(s) for TPF-C and TPF-I at the appropriate time in the project life-cycles.

9 9 TPF Scenario Implements The Vision for Space Exploration TPF FFI TPF SCI TPF Big C TPF Small C SMART-3 (2013) TPF Small C (2014) TPF/DARWIN FFI (2019) Life-Finder Planet Imager Do visible coronagraph mission first, providing an early opportunity for detection of Earth-like planets and characterization of their key physical properties and biomarkers. Continue the technology leading to a more capable infrared formation flying interferometer extending the search space and completing the characterization of the physical properties and biomarkers for detected planets. DARWIN FFI Mission Studies & Technology 1st Generation Missions (2010-2020) 2nd Generation Vision Missions Based on 1st Generation Results (2020-2030) NASA Missions NASA Minority Partner ESA Mission Joint Missions The Past The Present Plan The Future

10 10 Summary The proposed TPF program is a bold step that supports the Vision for Space Exploration and follows the recommendations of the Decadal Review while reducing risk with staged approach that makes data and results available as rapidly as possible TPF-C can be ready for 2014 launch –Technology making excellent progress –Plausible project budget and Origins funding level consistent with 2014 launch TPF-I ready to proceed with technology development for 2019 launch –Formation flying space demonstration (SMART-3 in 2013) currently proposed as joint program with ESA –Continuing technology development of nulling and other key technologies Near term plans –Develop plan for TPF-C in preparation for Phase-A –Continue support for key coronagraph and interferometer science and technology –Engage science community to get ready for TPF-C and TPF-I

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