SP-436 Project Orion: A Design Study of a System for Detecting Extrasolar Planets




Our study has benefited greatly from advice and consultation with many people. Early in our activity, a lecture series (outlined below) was beneficial in acquainting the Fellows with the many facets of our problem:


1. A General Discussion of the Planetary Detection Problem and Methods for Detecting Other Planetary Systems - D. C. Black, NASA Ames

2. SETI and Planetary Detection-H. Mark, Director, NASA Ames

3. An Overview of the SETI Program- J. Billingham, NASA Ames

4. Possible Means of Detecting Other Planetary Systems at Infrared and Radio Frequencies-T. Clark, NASA Goddard and University of Maryland

5. Direct Imaging of Extrasolar Planets with an Apodized Space Telescope - B. M. Oliver, Hewlett-Packard

6. Astrometric Theory -R. Harrington, U.S. Naval Observatory

7. Long and Short Term Stability of Astrometric Telescopes- K. A. Strand, Director, U.S. Naval Observatory

8. Comments on Optical Requirements of an Astrometric Telescope - C. KenKnight, University of Arizona

9. Reduction of Astrometric Data- G. Gatewood, Allegheny Observatory


In addition, the group also heard lectures by D. Currie of the University of Maryland and R. Miller of the University of Chicago on the concept of a ground-based Michelson interferometer for [204] astrometric observations. Their contributions were invaluable in clarifying some of the concepts embodied in the imaging interferometer design concept developed here. We thank J. Elliot of Cornell University for his input to our study, most notably in the area of direct detection of extrasolar planets. A discussion by Dr. Elliot of one possible alternative to the techniques considered during Project Orion is presented in appendix D. Many people in local industry also kindly provided valuable advice. Those of us in the program acknowledge the support and contributions of all these people and others too numerous to mention.