The Habitable Exoplanet Observatory, or HabEx, has been designed to be the Great Observatory of the 2030s. For the first time in human history, technologies have matured sufficiently to enable an affordable space-based telescope mission capable of discovering and characterizing Earthlike planets orbiting nearby bright sunlike stars in order to search for signs of habitability and biosignatures. Such a mission can also be equipped with instrumentation that will enable broad and exciting general astrophysics and planetary science not possible from current or planned facilities. HabEx is a space telescope with unique imaging and multi-object spectroscopic capabilities at wavelengths ranging from ultraviolet (UV) to near-IR. These capabilities allow for a broad suite of compelling science that cuts across the entire NASA astrophysics portfolio. HabEx has three primary science goals: (1) Seek out nearby worlds and explore their habitability; (2) Map out nearby planetary systems and understand the diversity of the worlds they contain; (3) Enable new explorations of astrophysical systems from our own solar system to external galaxies by extending our reach in the UV through near-IR. This Great Observatory science will be selected through a competed GO program, and will account for about 50% of the HabEx primary mission. The preferred HabEx architecture is a 4m, monolithic, off-axis telescope that is diffraction-limited at 0.4 microns and is in an L2 orbit. HabEx employs two starlight suppression systems: a coronagraph and a starshade, each with their own dedicated instrument.
- Pub Date:
- January 2020
- Astrophysics - Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics
- Full report: 498 pages. Executive Summary: 14 pages. More information about HabEx can be found here: https://www.jpl.nasa.gov/habex/