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Darwin —- a mission to detect and search for life on extrasolar planets

Cockell, C. S. and Léger, A. and Fridlund, M. and Herbst, T. M. and Kaltenegger, L. and Absil, O. and Beichman, C. and Benz, W. and Blanc, M. and Brack, A. and Chelli, A. and Colangeli, L. and Cottin, H. and Coudé du Foresto, F. and Danchi, W. C. and Defrère, D. and den Herder, J.-W. and Eiroa, C. and Greaves, J. and Henning, T. and Johnston, K. J. and Jones, H. and Labadie, L. and Lammer, H. and Launhardt, R. and Lawson, P. and Lay, O. P. and LeDuigou, J.-M. and Liseau, R. and Malbet, F. and Martin, S. R. and Mawet, D. and Mourard, D. and Moutou, C. and Mugnier, L. M. and Ollivier, M. and Paresce, F. and Quirrenbach, A. and Rabbia, Y. D. and Raven, J. A. and Rottgering, H. J. A. and Rouan, D. and Santos, N. C. and Selsis, F. and Serabyn, E. and Shibai, H. and Tamura, M. and Thiébaut, E. and Westall, F. and White, G. J. (2009) Darwin —- a mission to detect and search for life on extrasolar planets. Astrobiology, 9 (1). pp. 1-22. ISSN 1557-8070. doi:10.1089/ast.2007.0227.

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The discovery of extrasolar planets is one of the greatest achievements of modern astronomy. The detection of planets that vary widely in mass demonstrates that extrasolar planets of low mass exist. In this paper, we describe a mission, called Darwin, whose primary goal is the search for, and characterization of, terrestrial extrasolar planets and the search for life. Accomplishing the mission objectives will require collaborative science across disciplines, including astrophysics, planetary sciences, chemistry, and microbiology. Darwin is designed to detect rocky planets similar to Earth and perform spectroscopic analysis at mid-infrared wavelengths (6–20 μm), where an advantageous contrast ratio between star and planet occurs. The baseline mission is projected to last 5 years and consists of approximately 200 individual target stars. Among these, 25–50 planetary systems can be studied spectroscopically, which will include the search for gases such as CO_2, H_2O, CH_4, and O_3. Many of the key technologies required for the construction of Darwin have already been demonstrated, and the remainder are estimated to be mature in the near future. Darwin is a mission that will ignite intense interest in both the research community and the wider public.

Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
Absil, O.0000-0002-4006-6237
Beichman, C.0000-0002-5627-5471
Defrère, D.0000-0003-3499-2506
Greaves, J.0000-0002-3133-413X
Mawet, D.0000-0002-8895-4735
Selsis, F.0000-0001-9619-5356
Tamura, M.0000-0002-6510-0681
Additional Information:© 2009 Mary Ann Liebert, Inc. Published in Volume: 9 Issue 1: March 24, 2009. Online Ahead of Print: February 9, 2009.
Issue or Number:1
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20090817-134520824
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:15068
Deposited On:18 Aug 2009 15:14
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:16

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