Very large-diameter, ultralight space telescopes to enable large-scale survey of candidate earth-like planets for signatures of life

Dániel Apai, Tom Milster, Dae Wook Kim, Alex Bixel, Glenn Schneider, Benjamin V. Rackham, Jonathan Arenberg

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

Abstract

With the ongoing discovery of thousands of planets around other stars, the question of whether life exists on other worlds is not only compelling but is becoming answerable. However, due to the faintness of these distant worlds, a bold new generation of space telescopes, building on new technologies, is a must to search for signatures of life. We present a revolutionary space observatory concept, the Nautilus Space Observatory, designed to survey a thousand planets for atmospheric gases that are indicative of life. Nautilus is enabled by a new technology of hybrid (diffractive-refractive) lenses, which provides very large-aperture (8m-class) space telescopes that are ultralight and can be cost-effectively reproduced. We briefly describe here the new lens technology, the Nautilus Space Observatory concept, ongoing technology and concept development work, and also introduce the Nautilus Probe, a first, stand-alone science and demonstration unit proposed to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAccelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery Conference, ASCEND 2020
PublisherAmerican Institute of Aeronautics and Astronautics Inc, AIAA
ISBN (Print)9781624106088
StatePublished - 2020
EventAccelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery Conference, ASCEND 2020 - Las Vegas, United States
Duration: Nov 16 2020Nov 19 2020

Publication series

NameAccelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery Conference, ASCEND 2020

Conference

ConferenceAccelerating Space Commerce, Exploration, and New Discovery Conference, ASCEND 2020
CountryUnited States
CityLas Vegas
Period11/16/2011/19/20

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Aerospace Engineering

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