Starshades and JWST


Webster Cash


University of Colorado


It is generally expected that the US ASTRO2010 exercise will give a very high science priority to spectroscopy of exoplanets inward toward the Habitable Zone. It is also conventional wisdom that that the resulting space missions will be limited to the Probe Class, comparable to the Large Class of ESA. We will show in this talk how a starshade sent to operate in tandem with the James Webb Space Telescope is the only affordable approach to this goal. We will present the latest design of such a mission, together with the recommended (yet very minor) changes to JWST. We will describe how such a mission would operate, what its capabilities are likely to be, and present simulations of results. This approach is likely to provide direct spectra of an Earth-like planets. Thus it provides the first serious opportunity to discover planets with oceans and to search seriously for biomarkers in the habitable zone.

Attached documents

Lyot2010proc s9 poster CashW.pdf
PDF, 203.1 kb