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Future Missions - Space Interferometry Mission

Space Interferometry Mission

Proposed Launch: 2009
Purpose: Space-based optical interferometer to study stars and detect extra-solar planets

The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) is an orbiting interferometer that will link multiple telescopes to function in unison as a much larger "virtual telescope." Its main goal is to detect planets of varying sizes -- from huge planets the size of Jupiter down to planets a few times as massive as Earth. It will do this by precisely locating nearby stars and looking for signs of any wobble, which may indicate that gravity from orbiting planets is tugging at them.

In addition, the mission will determine positions and distances to stars with an accuracy several hundred times greater than current telescope technology allows. This "street map" to our Milky Way galaxy could lead to breakthrough discoveries in astronomy. The mission will determine the distances to important signposts throughout the Milky Way, which will help us understand the universe, determine its age and size, and predict its future.

Partnering with JPL are TRW and Lockheed Martin, as well as numerous institutions represented on the science teams.

For more information, see the Space Interferometry Mission home page.

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