Exoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer

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Exoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer
Mission type Space observatory
Launch date 2019
Mission duration 3 + 2 years
Orbits Sun synchronous Low Earth Orbit
Homepage EXEDE Home Page
Orbital elements
Semimajor axis 2000 km
Inclination 105°
Orbital period 127 min

Exoplanetary Circumstellar Environments and Disk Explorer (EXCEDE) is a proposed space telescope for NASA's Explorer program to observe circumstellar protoplanetary and debris discs and study planet formation around nearby (within 100 parsecs) stars of spectral classes M to B. The spacecraft will use a 70 centimeter diameter telescope-mounted coronagraph called PIAA (Phase Induced Amplitude Apodized Coronagraph) to suppress starlight in order to be able to detect fainter radiation of circumstellar dust. Characterizing constitution of such disks would provide clues for planetary formation (mostly in habitable zones), while already existing exoplanets can be detected through their interaction with dust disk. The project's principal investigator is Dr. Glenn Schneider.

Scientific goals[edit]

  • Explore the amount of dust in habitable zones
  • Determining if such a disk interferes with future planet finding missions (dust-scattered starlight causes noise in images of exoplanets[1])
  • Determine composition of material delivered to planets. Icy and organich-rich particles are important for life.[2]
  • Determine of fraction of massive planets on large orbits
  • Observe how protoplanetary disks make Solar System-like architectures
  • Constrain giant planets' composition by measuring their reflectivity[3] EXCEDE will be the first to image (giant) exoplanets distances from their stars similar to ours (0.5-7 AU).[4]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Future Mission Impacts?". EXCEDE Homepage. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  2. ^ "Delivery of Planet Veneers". EXCEDE Homepage. Retrieved 25 February 2012. 
  3. ^ "CS Disks: Signposts of Planets". EXCEDE Homepage. Retrieved 24 February 2012. 
  4. ^ "Cool Giant Exoplanets". EXCEDE Homepage. Retrieved 25 February 2012.