Technology Requirements to Operate at and utilize the  Solar Gravity Lens for Exoplanet Imaging Technology Requirements to Operate at and utilize the  Solar Gravity Lens for Exoplanet Imaging

Technology Requirements to Operate at and utilize the Solar Gravity Lens for Exoplanet Imaging

May 15 - 18, 2018
California Institute of Technology - Pasadena, CA 91125

Workshop Overview:

This KISS Technology Development Workshop is a follow-on to the 2014-15 KISS Study, Science and Enabling Technologies to Explore the Interstellar Medium - Several mission possibilities were identified there, in terms of increasing distance into the interstellar medium:  Kuiper Belt Objects, Far Interstellar Medium (>200 AU), and the Solar Gravity Lens Focus (SGLF) Mission (>600 AU). The interest in the SGLF mission is that it may provide the best, affordable way to achieve kilometer scale images and spatially resolved spectra of resolved features associated with a putative biomass.

This study will provide an opportunity for in-depth discussion in science, instrumentation and mission – which we hope will lead to specific design and technology development proposals to enable this mission to be launched in the mid-2020s.

A 3.5 day workshop will explore the Technology Requirements for a potential mission to the Solar Gravity Lens Focus [agenda].

The principle of the Solar Gravity Lens and creation of an exoplanet image is explained here: [Physics Paper].

How a possible mission to the Solar Gravity Lens Focus >550 AU from the Sun might be designed, and the technology tradeoffs to be considered is described here: [Mission Paper].

(The graphics at the top of this webpage shows a 1-meter telescope with a coronagraph (with 10-6 suppression) placed in the focal area of the solar gravitational lens (SGL) can image an exoplanet at the distance up to 100 light years with a kilometer-scale resolution on its surface. In addition, spectroscopic broadband signal-to-noise ratio is ~106 in 2 weeks of integration time, providing this instrument with incredible remote-sensing capabilities. See concept description at

Reference List

Below are some references we have gathered relevant to our study. Many more references about particular technologies, scientific investigations, and orbits will be cited during the study. We welcome additions and suggestions for this compilation of references.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Think Tank, Room 155 - Keck Center, Caltech

Technology Requirements to Operate at and Utilize the Solar Gravity Lens for Exoplanet Imaging


8:30 - 9:00

Coffee and Carbs – Sign in

9:00 - 9:15

Introduction to KISS

Tom Prince/Michele Judd

9:15 - 9:30

Background and Motivation for Workshop

Louis Friedman

9:30 - 10:15

Workshop Objectives and Participants

Dimitri Mawet

10:15 - 10:45


10:45 - 11:45

Physics of the SGL

Slava Turyshev

11:45 - 12:30

Imaging with the SGL

Mike Shao

12:30 - 2:00


2:00 - 3:30

Mission Architectures

• Chemical/Solar Thermal
• Solar Sail/ Smallsat
• String of Pearls

Louis Friedman

Leon Alakalai
Darren Garber
Thomas Heinsheimer

3:30 - 4:00


4:00 - 5:00

Methods for Observing Exoplanets

Karl Stapelfeldt

5:00 - 5:30 Dmitiri Mawet

5:30 - 6:00

Organization of Sub-Groupst:

• Science
• Mission


Slava Turyshev
Louis Friedman


Hosted Dinner at the Athenaeum

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155

8:30 - 10:00 Mission Group Louis Friedman

Trajectory to the SGLF

Nitin Arora/Darren Garber

Operations at the SGLF


Mission architecture/CONOPS

Science Group Slava Turyshev/Dmitiri Mawet



Image reconstruction technique(s)/de-convolution


Spectroscopic science


Coronagraph concept(s)


Spectrometer design(s)


10:00 - 10:30


10:30 - 12:00

Groups Discussion Continue

12:00 - 1:30

Lunch - ON OUR OWN

1:30 - 3:30

Mission & Science Requirements

• Group reports & Discussion


3:30 - 4:15

Specification of subtopics


4:15 - 4:30

Walk to Lees-Kubota Hall, Guggenheim Building

4:30 - 5:00


5:00 - 6:00

KISS Public Lecture at Lees-Kubota Hall, Guggenheim Building



Hosted Dinner at Athenaeum

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155


8:30 - 12:00

Science & Instruments Group(s):

• Camera retirements
• Coronagraph requirements
• Observation requirements
• Data collection and Data processing requirements
• Spectrometer requirements
• Other science

Mission Group(s):

• Chemical propulsion options
• Solar sail requirements
• Multiple spacecraft options for Einstein Ring operations and for communications
• Navigation
• Options for maneuvering: trajectory corrections,
focal line flight and Einstein Ring operations
• Communications options: radio, optical, use of relays
• Power options

Break 30 minutes when appropriate


12:00 - 2:00

Lunch - ON OUR OWN

2:00 - 3:00

Reports from the groups


3:00 - 4:00


4:00 - 6:00 Synthesis Discussion Plenary                   


Hosted Dinner (Restaurant – TBD)

Friday, May 18, 2018

Keck Center - Think Tank, Room 155


8:30 - 9:30

Sub Groups meet for Synthesis/Conclusions

9:30 - 10:00


10:00 - 11:00

Plenary Discussion                          

• Definition of open areas for tradeoff
• Specification of Technology Requirements
• Report Plan and Writing



Next Step – Study Plans, Proposals, Presentations







  1. Coffee and Continental Breakfast will be provide ONLY on 1st Day (Tuesday)
  2. Coffee and snacks provided at Breaks every day
  3. Lunches are on your own – on campus or nearby restaurants (maps provided)
  4. Dinners are all hosted, thanks to:
    1. The Aerospace Corporation
    2. The Breakthrough Prizes Foundation
    3. The Keck Institute for Space Studies (Wednesday)
  5. Internet Access will be announced

Workshop Participants - Confirmed to Date:

  • Slava Turyshev - JPL
  • Dimitri Mawet - Caltech
  • Louis Friedman
  • Reggie Alexander - NASA-MSFC
  • Leon Alkalai - JPL
  • Nitin Arora – JPL
  • Nathan Barnes - L’Garde
  • John Brophy - JPL
  • Dan Coulter - JPL
  • Artur Davoyan - Caltech
  • Jared Dervan - NASA-MSFC
  • Darren Garber - NXTRAC
  • Tom  Heinsheimer - Aerospace Corp
  • Henry Helvejian - Aerospace Corp
  • Pete Klupar - Breakthrough
  • Jeff Kuhn - U. Hawaii
  • Geoff Landis - NASA-GRC
  • Leslie Livesay - JPL
  • Kevin Parkin - Parkin Research
  • Michael Shao – JPL
  • Nathan Strange - JPL
  • Jean Surdej - U of Liege
  • Tomas Svitek - Stellar Exploration
  • David Van Buren - JPL
  • Ji Wang - Caltech, post-Doc
  • Pete Worden - Breakthrough

Lodging for out-of-town attendees

There are a number of hotels (5 pages pdf, 181KB) that are close to the Caltech campus where we have a negotiated rate. (Please note that this negotiated rate does not guarantee you the lowest rate as there may be internet specials or AAA rates that may be better.)

Visa Requirements

For Visa requirement information and travel to the United States please visit the website of the U.S. Department of State.

Parking (for Visitors and for JPL Personnel)

For Visitors: From the Arroyo Parkway, turn right (east) on Del Mar Avenue. Proceed approximately one and a quarter miles. The Caltech campus will be on your right. Turn right (south) onto Wilson Avenue. Turn right into the North Wilson Structure and park in an unmarked spot. Buy a parking permit from the kiosk located inside the North Wilson Structure or request one ahead of time from KISS.

For JPL Personnel: JPLers may use their JPL hang tag for parking or request a special parking hangtag from the JPL parking office. Employees who do not have on-Lab parking privileges can obtain a hang tag created for this purpose from JPL parking coordinator Robert Kennedy (818-354-4586, Building 310-108B, 9/80 schedule). Please park in an unmarked spot in the North Wilson Structure located on Wilson Avenue.

Maps and General Information on Pasadena

Directions and Maps