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Worlds Beyond: A Strategy for the Detection and Characterization of Exoplanets

2010-04-11 06:40:34
J. I. Lunine, D. Fischer, H. Hammel, T. Henning, L. Hillenbrand, J. Kasting, G. Laughlin, B. Macintosh, M. Marley, G. Melnick, D. Monet, C. Noecker, S. Peale, A. Quirrenbach, S. Seager, J. Winn


This is a scientific strategy for the detection and characterization of extrasolar planets; that is, planets orbiting other stars. As such, it maps out over a 15-year horizon the techniques and capabilities required to detect and measure the properties of planets as small as Earth around stars as large as our own Sun. It shows how the technology pieces and their development fit together to achieve the primary goal of the strategy: if planets like Earth exist around stars within some tens of light years of our own Solar System, those planets will be found and their basic properties characterized. Essential to this strategy is not only the search for and examination of individual planets, but also a knowledge of the arrangement, or architecture, of planetary systems around as large a number of stars as possible; this is the second goal of the strategy. The final goal of the strategy is the study of disks around stars, important both to understand the implications of the variety of exoplanet systems for planet formation, and to determine how many nearby stars have environments around them clean enough of debris that planets may be sought and, if found, characterized.

Abstract (translated)



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