LASP Science Seminars
The Extreme-Ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution (ESCAPE) Astrophysics Explorer Concept
Brian Fleming (LASP)
Among the thousands of detected exoplanets discovered to-date are an ever-increasing number of Earth-sized planets that lie in the canonical “habitable zone” (HZ) – where the stellar flux is appropriate for the existence of liquid water on the planetary surface. The vast majority of these, and likely the only exoplanets whose atmospheres can be searched for signs of life in the next decade, orbit small M and K dwarf stars with a radiation environment very different from that of the sun. The LASP-led Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution (ESCAPE) project is designed to measure the far- and extreme-ultraviolet (70 – 820, 1200 – 1700 angstrom) radiation output from these stars in large numbers for the first time, an essential step in advancing these systems from discovery to characterization of habitability. ESCAPE’s focused survey of EUV emission lines from F, G, K, and M-type stars enables a simplified architecture relative to previous EUV astrophysics missions, resulting in a gain of more than two orders of magnitude in sensitivity over the Extreme Ultraviolet Explorer (EUVE). This talk will present an overview of the ESCAPE science objectives, the instrument design, and a brief discussion of how the stellar astrophysics of ESCAPE is complimented by the existing broad science portfolio at LASP.