March 13, 2019 Seminar Recording
Title: S5: The Starshade Technology Development Activity
Speaker(s): Phil Willems (NASA ExEP; S5 Deputy Manager) Presentation Slides
In 2016, NASA decided to reorganize its starshade technology development from competitively funded grants into a centralized directed activity, with the goal of closing all starshade technology gaps by driving their core technologies to TRL5. In 2018 NASA’s Astrophysics Division approved the plan for this activity, which is called ‘S5’. We will present a summary of starshade technology, the plan to close the technology gaps, and recent results.
October 29, 2018 Seminar Recording
Title: Architecture for space-based exoplanet spectroscopy in the mid-infrared
Speaker: Joe Green (JPL) presentation slides
Characterizing exo-Earths at wavelength about 10 micron offers many benefits over visible coronagraphy. Apart from providing direct access to a number of significant bio-signatures, direct-imaging in the mid-infrared can provide 1000 times or more relaxation to contrast requirements while greatly shortening the time-scales over which the system must be stable. This in turn enables tremendous relief to optical manufacturing, control and stability tolerances bringing them in-line with current technology state of the art. In this talk, we explore a reference design that co-optimizes a large, segmented, linearized aperture telescope using one-dimensional phase-induced aperture apodization to provide high-contrast imaging for spectroscopic analysis. By rotating about a parent star, the chemical signatures of its planets are characterized while affording additional means for background suppression.
October 5, 2018 Seminar Recording
Title: Terrestrial exoplanet characterization enabled by quasi-random structured-pupil
Speaker: James Breckinridge (Caltech/University of Arizona) Slides
Here we introduce the concept of the structured telescope pupils whose unique diffraction pattern significantly reduces the non-uniform distribution of background radiation. Diffraction patterns from these pupils are compared to the monolithic filled aperture, the classical Cassegrain, the 60-degree symmetry of the hexagonal segments (JWST, E-ELT, etc.). Diffraction “spikes” are reduced by at least 105 . We discuss advantages to spectroscopy, image processing, and observatory operations. We assert that, segment fabrication, alignment and mounting of curved-sided mirrors is not more difficult than fabrication of the classic hexagonal mirror segments.
May 30, 2018
Title: Cost Drivers for Traditional Space Telescope Missions
Speakers: Keith Warfield (NASA/JPL) Slides and Phil Stahl (NASA/MSFC)
Note: the colloquium recording is NASA-internal only, please contact Brendan Crill to request access.
March 1, 2018 Seminar Recording
Title: Stability of Mid-Infrared Detectors for Future Space-based Transit Spectroscopy Measurements
Speaker: Craig McMurtry (Rochester) Presentation Slides
The future space missions that are designed to observe exo-planets using transit spectroscopy, e.g. OST (Origins Space Telescope), will require the detector arrays and their controllers to be stable to < 5 ppm. OST’s MISC (Mid-IR Imager, Spectrometer, Coronagraph) covers the mid-IR range 5 – 38 um. The current baseline includes Si:As and Si:Sb BIB detector arrays to cover the 5-38 um wavelength range. We suggest that long wave HgCdTe, which we have developed, is an attractive alternative for 5-15 um, while Si:As BIB detector arrays would cover out to 27um, and Si:Sb BIB detector arrays are the only alternative that works out to 38 um. We will discuss those three detector technologies and some development that may be needed to reach the required stability. Further, both the Read-Out Integrated Circuit (ROIC) and any associated data acquisition controllers may need to be redesigned for several reasons.
October 24, 2017
Title: Multi-Star Wavefront Control: A Method for Exoplanet Imaging in Multi-Star Systems
Speaker: Ruslan Belikov (NASA/Ames) Presentation Slides
The technology to directly image exoplanets has been steadily advancing for more than a decade. It enables future space missions such as WFIRST, LUVOIR, and HabEx to directly image planets by reflected light and possibly find evidence of life on them. However, many prime multi-star systems are reluctantly omitted from the target lists of missions because mature starlight suppression technology for multi-star systems does not yet exist. Enabling the study of multi-star systems is very important because more than half of Sun-like stars belong to multi-star systems. This includes Alpha Centauri A and B, which would probably be the best target for any direct imaging mission (by a large margin), if it was not a binary.
This talk will cover the science motivation as well as the progress in technology development of Multi-Star Wavefront Control (MSWC), a method to directly image planets and disks in multi-star systems. This method works with almost any coronagraph (or external occulter with a DM) and requires little or no change to existing and mature hardware. Because of the ubiquity of multistar systems, this method potentially broadens the science yield of many missions and concepts such as WFIRST, Exo-C/S, HabEx, LUVOIR, and potentially enables the detection of Earth-like planets (if they exist) around our nearest neighbor star, Alpha Centauri, with a small and low-cost space telescope such as ACESat or Project Blue, in addition to the larger missions.
September 28, 2017
Title: GAIA design considerations and lessons learned
Speaker: Alessandro Atzei (ESA/ESTEC) Presentation Slides
This presentation will focus on the considerations that led to the GAIA design as well as the key lessons learned from the mission. The presentation will focus on the (system) engineering aspects.
Title: Flight Operations Experience on the GAIA mission
Speaker: David Milligan (ESA/ESOC) Presentation Slides
This presentation will focus on the mission operations experience gained in flying Gaia through the first years of the mission (covering the launch, LEOP, commissioning and Routine Ops phases).
September 5, 2017
Speaker: Eduardo Bendek (NASA/Ames)
Measuring masses of long-period planets around F, G, K or brighter stars is necessary to characterize exoplanets and assess their habitability. Imaging stellar astrometry offers a unique opportunity to measure exoplanet masses. However, its accuracy is limited by the non-systematic dynamic distortions that arise from perturbations in the optical train. We have tested a novel approach to measure and calibrate field distortion potentially enabling better than 1µas imaging astrometry accuracy. In this talk, we will review the architecture, milestones, and performance of the simultaneous astrometry and high-contrast imaging laboratory built at NASA Ames Research Center as part of a TDEM program. We will also discuss the impact and benefits of applying this technology to future flagship exoplanet missions, such as HABEX, STEP, and Theia.
Title: Detector Metrology for Ultra Precise Astrometry on LUVOIR
Speaker: Mike Shao (JPL) Presentation Slides
Astrometry at the sub-micro-arcsec level can detect and Earth mass planets in the habitable zone around a large number of nearby FGK stars. Reducing and/or calibrating instrumental systematic errors is the key to achieving very high astrometric accuracy. There are two major sources of systematic error for astrometry with a large focal plane detector, one optical distortion the optics and the second is imperfections in the focal plane. This talk discusses the imperfections in the focal plane, how they can be calibrated both on the ground and in orbit. The metrology system is part of the LUVOIR high definition imager instrument concept and we'll summarize what the capabilities of such an instrument would be for exo-Earth detection.
May 11, 2017
Title: MEMS Deformable Mirrors for Astronomical Adaptive Optics
Speaker: Paul Bierden, Boston Micromachines Corporation
As the astronomical community continues its excitement about the progress being made toward the building of the high contrast imaging telescopes, technical development is ongoing for the components needed for these instruments. This presentation will show the progress that has been made by Boston Micromachines on the design and fabrication of micro-electromechanical (MEMS) deformable mirrors that will be needed for future scientific progress. Large actuator count, high yield, and stable deformable mirrors are being made for on-sky planet finding instruments as well as test beds where the next generation instruments are being developed. The challenges addressed in this design and fabrication and the results achieved will be presented as well as how this will translate to meet future needs. Also, presented will be the results from current instruments and test beds. Finally, future plans for mirror development will be presented.
April 11, 2017
Title: Colloidal Micro-Newton Thrusters for Precision Attitude Control
Colloid micronewton thrusters offer a precise, low-mass, low-vibration (0.1 µN thrust precision with ≤0.1 µN/rtHz thrust noise) solution for fine pointing of space observatories. These electric thrusters can meet pointing requirements of <0.1 milliarcseconds for Hubble-class telescopes, exceeding the state-of-the art for reaction wheels while using less mass and similar power levels. Vibrations induced by the thrusters have been shown to produce less than 4nm displacements for a 500 kg spacecraft. This technology has been advanced to a high level of readiness (TRL 7) through the Space Technology 7 Disturbance Reduction System (ST7-DRS) technology demonstration payload, which was part of LISA Pathfinder's test of precision, drag-free control for the future LISA gravitational wave observatory. Continuing technology development now focuses on validating thruster lifetime and improving reliability for a flagship class science mission.
Speaker: John Ziemer (JPL)
January 23, 2017
Title: Edge Sensors for Segmented Mirrors
Future astronomical telescopes in space will have architectures that must meet complex and demanding requirements in order to meet science goals. The missions now under consideration by NASA for imaging exoplanets and characterizing their atmospheres have technical challenges that are near or beyond the state of the art of telescope stability. This colloquium describes segment edge sensing and control technologies developed for ground based telescopes, and shows how they might be used to stabilize space telescopes to picometer-class wavefront errors.
November 29, 2016
Title: Segmented Coronagraph Design and Analysis (SCDA) Study
Reaching high contrast ratios at close angular proximity to a star is an extremely challenging undertaking for a coronagraph with a filled-aperture telescope and is even more challenging with segmented, partially obscured apertures proposed for a large space-borne observatory. The primary goal of the ExEP-funded SCDA study is to identify coronagraph designs that maximize exo-Earth detectability with a variety of segmented apertures including hexagonal-segment and pie-wedge segment architectures. Both on-axis and off-axis designs are considered. The SCDA study is funding the design of pupil-plane, image-plane, and hybrid coronagraph designs. In this presentation, we discuss the progress in coronagraph designs and science yield performance since the study began in January 2016
The intention of these web seminars is to provide a forum for sharing key technology advances and results that enable or enhance the direct imaging and characterization of exoplanets. Topics may include recent coronagraph and starshade demonstration results, advances in detector technology, deformable mirrors, LOWFS/C, telescope stability, polarization, RV, starshade tutorials, etc. Our target audience is the engineers and scientists working on the WFIRST project and the HabEx, LUVOIR, and OST study concepts, but all are welcome to attend.
The series will be recorded and publically archived on this page so that they can be viewed at later dates.
To subscribe to the colloquium series, receive announcements, or suggest topics for future telecons, please contact Brendan Crill, Organizer