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Paper: Exoplanets and the Space Interferometry Mission
Volume: 338, Astrometry in the Age of the Next Generation of Large Telescopes
Page: 191
Authors: Marcy, G.W.; Fischer, D.A.; McCarthy, C.; Ford, E.B.
Abstract: The Doppler technique has revealed exoplanets with masses as low as 15 MEarth orbiting between 0.03 and 5.5 AU. The distribution of planet masses rises toward the lowest detectable masses and an increasing number of planets reside in larger orbits. The majority of planets reside in non-circular orbits and multiple planet systems are common, often trapped in resonances. The Space Interferometry Mission (SIM) will detect planets with masses less than 10 MEarth orbiting within 2 AU of nearby stars. It will measure the masses and orbits of rocky planets, testing theories of their formation and dynamical evolution in protoplanetary disks. For the closest stars, planets with masses as low as 3 MEarth within 1 AU are detectable at a secure level, and marginal detections of planets of 1 MEarth can be made. SIM will be the first mission to find rocky planets near the habitable zone of nearby stars, allowing follow-up by later imaging and spectroscopic missions, such as the "Terrestrial Planet Finder" and Darwin. Thus, SIM will provide TPF and Darwin a set of target stars enriched in rocky planets, increasing the efficiency of those missions by factors of at least ~3. Indeed, SIM can dictate the timing of imaging observations by selecting orbital phases when the planet resides outside the diffraction blind spot.
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