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A Science-Driven Mission Concept to An Exoplanet

Show simple item record Weinstein-Weiss, Stacy Rayman, Marc Turyshev, Slava Biswass, Abhijit Jun, Insoo Price, Hoppy Mamajek, Eric Callas, John McElrath, Tim Woerner, Dave Brophy, John Shao, Mike Alkalai, Leon Arora, Nitin Johnson, Les Opher, Merav Redfield, Seth McNutt, Ralph Stoker, Carol Blank, Jennifer Caldwell, Douglas Friedman, Louis Frisbee, Robert Bennett, Gary 2020-03-23T20:38:28Z 2020-03-23T20:38:28Z 2017-10-03
dc.identifier.citation Tennessee Valley Interstellar Workshop 2017, Huntsville, Alabama, October 4-6, 2017 en_US
dc.identifier.clearanceno CL#17-4607
dc.description.abstract A concept for a science-driven robotic mission to an exoplanet was developed by a team of scientists and engineers from NASA and academia. The concept and scope were based on key mission and science requirements designed to address the question: “What makes a flight mission to an exoplanet compelling, in terms of science return, compared to what we will be able to learn in the next few decades with large near-Earth telescopes or other remote sensing techniques such as a telescope at the Solar Gravity Lens Focus?” By thinking systematically through mission and science goals and objectives, key requirements were developed that would drive technology developments in all necessary aspects, not just on propulsion. Unique science measurements would be performed en route to the exoplanet, including exploring the environment in the outer regions of our solar system, the Oort Cloud, the local interstellar medium, and the astrospheric environment around the host star. One of the key mission science objectives, and one that addresses why a mission to an exoplanet is compelling, was to confirm and characterize life. This objective is fundamental and drives the need for a precursor exoplanet characterization program to search for Earth-centric biosignatures and also drives key aspects of the mission concept. The team concluded that a direct confirmation of life would require in situ observations and measurements which cannot be performed on a fast (~10% of the speed of light) flyby; thus, the mission would require a method to slow down, orbit, or send a probe to the exoplanet’s surface. This capability drives a trade between interstellar travel velocity, trip duration, and propulsion architecture, as well as a high level of onboard autonomy, including adaptive science data collection, on-board data processing, and analysis. This paper describes our mission concept, the key requirements, and open trades. en_US
dc.description.sponsorship NASA/JPL en_US
dc.language.iso en_US en_US
dc.publisher Pasadena, CA: Jet Propulsion Laboratory, National Aeronautics and Space Administration, 2017 en_US
dc.title A Science-Driven Mission Concept to An Exoplanet en_US
dc.type Preprint en_US

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