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Is Space-based Interferometry Dead?

Leisawitz, D., Benford, D., Blain, A., Carr, J., Fich, M., Fischer, J., Goldsmith, P., Greaves, J., Griffin, Matthew Joseph, Helou, G., Ivison, R., Kuchner, M., Lyon, R., Matsuo, H., Rinehart, S. A., Serabyn, E., Shibai, H., Silverberg, R., Staguhn, J., Unwin, S., Wilner, D., Wootten, A. and Wright, E. L. 2011. Is Space-based Interferometry Dead? Presented at: American Astronomical Society Meeting 218, Boston, USA, Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society,

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In the wake of the Decadal Survey and a January 2011 meeting of NASA's Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG), one might be tempted to conclude that space interferometry is dead. We explain why this slogan is hyperbole, summarize the steps currently being taken to prepare for a space-based far-IR interferometer, and reiterate the science case for an imaging and spectroscopic interferometer - SPIRIT - that would operate in space at long infrared wavelengths. Space-based interferometry is alive and well, but the center of activity has shifted to a spectral region (25 to 400 microns) in which no alternative measurement technique can provide information essential to answering several scientific questions deemed compelling by the Decadal Survey. Astrophysicists will use SPIRIT to: discover how the conditions for habitability arise during planetary system formation; find and characterize exoplanets by measuring their sculpting effects on protoplanetary and debris disks; and study the formation, merger history, and star formation history of galaxies.

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Schools: Physics and Astronomy
Publisher: Bulletin of the American Astronomical Society
Last Modified: 04 Jun 2017 02:59

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