Status Report

Captain Cook, the Terrestrial Planet Finder and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence

By SpaceRef Editor
January 4, 2003
Filed under , ,

Astrophysics, abstract
astro-ph/0212336


From: Charles Beichman <[email protected]>
Date: Sat, 14 Dec 2002 03:52:27 GMT (15kb)

Captain Cook, the Terrestrial Planet Finder and the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence


Authors:
Charles Beichman

Comments: Bioastronomy 2002, IAU Symposium 213, in press


Over two hundred years ago Capt. James Cook sailed up Whitsunday Passage,
just a few miles where we now sit, on a voyage of astronomical observation and
discovery that remains an inspiration to us all. Since the prospects of our
visiting planets beyond our solar system are slim, we will have to content
ourselves with searching for life using remote sensing, not sailing ships.
Fortunately, a recently completed NASA study has concluded that a Terrestrial
Planet Finder could be launched within a decade to detect terrestrial planets
around nearby stars. A visible light coronagraph using an 8-10 m telescope, or
an infrared nulling interferometer, operated on either a $sim40$ m structure
or separated spacecraft, could survey over 150 stars, looking for habitable
planets and signs of primitive life. Such a mission, complemented by projects
(Kepler and Eddington) that will provide statistical information on the
frequency of Earth-sized planets in the habitable zone, will determine key
terms in the “Drake equation” that describes the number of intelligent
civilizations in the Universe.

Full-text: PostScript, PDF, or Other formats



References and citations for this submission:

SLAC-SPIRES HEP (refers to ,
cited by, arXiv reformatted)



Links to:
arXiv,
astro-ph,
/find,
/abs (/+), /0212,
?



SpaceRef staff editor.