Space Interferometry and Exoplanets. The Quest for Other Earths
Cet article donne le mode d'emploi de l'interférométrie destructive pour la recherche d'exoplanètes.
One of the most promising technologies for discovering and studying nearby (< 30pc) Terrestrial exoplanets is nulling interferometry in the mid-infrared. This has been proposed by a number of researchers, dating back to the 1980;ties, and have now been studied technologically and scientifically since several years by the European Space Agency in the context of the Darwin mission. In this paper we discuss the current results in relation to the set of scientific goals that have been formulated in Europe for the topic of understanding the formation and evolution of planets like our own. Being one of the most ambitious undertakings of any space agency ever, one has to ask if there exist the possibility of dividing up the mission in steps, allowing significant simplifications and lowering of cost for each such step, while retaining for each one a compelling scientific case. Here we describe current investigations into this problem and outline the current level of understanding in this context and present possible scientific objectives for such a stepwise approach.
exoplanètes, astrobiologie, mission spatiale, interférométrie destructive.
exoplanets, astrobiology, space missions, interferometry.