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Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets

Chris Mann
Nanohmics, Inc.

NIAC 2016 Phase I Mann Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets Final Report


Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets
Graphic depiction of the Stellar Echo Imaging of Exoplanets using an interferometric technique.

All stars exhibit intensity fluctuations over several time scales, from nanoseconds to days; these intensity fluctuations echo off planetary bodies in the star system and provide an opportunity to detect and image exoplanets using modern computational imaging techniques. A mission utilizing distributed-aperture stellar echo detectors could provide continent-level imaging of exoplanets more readily than interferometric techniques, as high temporal resolution detection is less technically challenging and more cost effective than multi-kilometer-baseline fringe-tracking, particularly in a photon-starved regime.  The concept is viable for detecting exoplanets at more diverse orbital inclinations than is possible with transit or radial velocity techniques.

2016 Phase I and Phase II Selections