AAS 204th Meeting, June 2004
Session 11 Instrumentation, Space Missions
Poster, Monday, May 31, 2004, 9:20am-6:30pm, Ballroom

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[11.06] The Microlensing Planet Finder

D. P. Bennett (Notre Dame), J. Bally (Colorado), I. Bond (ROE), E. Cheng (Conceptual Analytics), K. Cook (LLNL), D. Deming (GSFC), R. Gilliland (STScI), M. Greenhouse (GSFC), A. Gould (Ohio State), R. Kimble (GSFC), J. Lunine (Arizona), J. Mather (GSFC), D. Minniti (Catolica), M. Nieder (GSFC), B. Paczynski (Princeton), S. Peale (UCSB), M. Rich (UCLA), K. Sahu (STScI), J. Schneider (Paris Obs.), A. Udalski (Warsaw), N. Woolf (Arizona), P. Yock (Auckland)

The Microlensing Planet Finder (MPF) is by far the most powerful proposed observatory for finding large numbers of planetary systems. It answers the following questions: How many planets are there? How are they distributed in mass and distance from their parent stars, and in distance from the Galactic Center? How many have large moons? How many have been expelled from their systems? None of these questions are fully addressed by other techniques particularly if the abundance is low.

MPF will do this by observing microlensing signals from 100 million stars in the Galactic bulge for 4 observing seasons, and it will have sensitivity to planets with masses as low as 0.1 M\oplus at separations > 0.7 AU. MPF will be sensitive to analogs of all the planets in the solar system except for Mercury and Pluto and will complement the Kepler mission.

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