This Technology Development Workshop is co-sponsored by the Aerospace Corporation, the Breakthrough Prize Foundation and the W. M. Keck Institute for Space Studies (KISS). It is a follow-on to the 2014-15 KISS Study, Science and Enabling Technologies to Explore the Interstellar Medium - http://kiss.caltech.edu/programs.html#ism. 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 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Hjaj-Ig9jBs).