Technology maturity update for the Habitable-zone Exoplanet Imaging Observatory (HabEx) concept (Conference Presentation)
Since the 2010 Decadal Survey, the technologies needed for direct imaging of exoplanets advanced significantly. NASA investment in these technologies, prioritized in the 2010 Decadal Survey, have ripened to a maturity to enable direct imaging of earthlike exoplanets. For the first time since the discovery of exoplanets, a direct imaging mission can be conceived to start in less than ten years, possibly as soon as five years. The HabEx Observatory Concept design utilizes technologies that are state of the art or near to state of the art with clear paths of development. The philosophy of the design favors as high a Technology Readiness Level (TRL) as possible to minimize risk. We discuss the HabEx technology challenges and assess the TRL expected by the submission of the Final Report in 2019. Many of the enabling technologies are at, or expected to be at, TRL 5 by 2019, and the remaining technologies are at TRL 4. We update the technology maturity roadmap with technology advances in the past year and expand it to include an Architecture option which is a 3.2 m diameter on-axis segmented aperture with a starshade only. The starshade suppresses starlight before it enters the telescope, allowing the telescope optical performance and stability to be significantly looser than for a coronagraph, thus enabling a segmented primary mirror design that can meet stability requirements with minimal advancement from the state of the art. We assess the exoplanet-driven technologies of HabEx, including starshades, coronagraphs, deformable mirrors, wavefront control, 4 m aperture mirrors, jitter mitigation, segmented mirror stability, and low-noise detectors.