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Published November 26, 2019 | Submitted
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High-Contrast Testbeds for Future Space-Based Direct Imaging Exoplanet Missions


Instrumentation techniques in the field of direct imaging of exoplanets have greatly advanced over the last two decades. Two of the four NASA-commissioned large concept studies involve a high-contrast instrument for the imaging and spectral characterization of exo-Earths from space: LUVOIR and HabEx. This whitepaper describes the status of 8 optical testbeds in the US and France currently in operation to experimentally validate the necessary technologies to image exo-Earths from space. They explore two complementary axes of research: (i) coronagraph designs and manufacturing and (ii) active wavefront correction methods and technologies. Several instrument architectures are currently being analyzed in parallel to provide more degrees of freedom for designing the future coronagraphic instruments. The necessary level of performance has already been demonstrated in-laboratory for clear off-axis telescopes (HabEx-like) and important efforts are currently in development to reproduce this accomplishment on segmented and/or on-axis telescopes (LUVOIR-like) over the next two years.

Additional Information

© 2019. Johan Mazoyer acknowledges support for this work was provided by NASA through the NASA Hubble Fellowship grant #HST-HF2-51414 awarded by the Space Telescope Science Institute, which is operated by the Association of Universities for Research in Astronomy, Inc., for NASA, under contract NAS5-26555. The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology.

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