AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 23 Future Space Missions
Poster, Monday, 9:20am-7:00pm, January 9, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[23.05] Direct Exo-planet Studies with the New Worlds Observer

W. Cash (University of Colorado), J. Arenberg (Northrop-Grumman), E. Schindhelm (University of Colorado), New Worlds Observer Team

We present the concept of the New Worlds Observer. The mission features a conventional quality telescope in space with a starshade occulter (~50m diameter) stationed about 50,000km away along the line of sight to a nearby star. Diffraction around the starshade is suppressed to very high levels by means of a newly developed apodizing shape. Simulations show that planetary systems can be mapped in detail and Earth-like planets identified to distances greater than 10pc. Spectroscopy of the planets will enable the identification of water planets. The New Worlds Observer uses only existing technologies. It has significantly lower cost, risk and schedule than the other approaches being studied for the finding of planets. This work has been supported by the NASA Institute for Advanced Concepts.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: cash@casa.colorado.edu

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