Coronagraph Design Survey for Future Exoplanet Direct Imaging Space Missions: Interim Update

Ruslan Belikov, Christopher Stark, Nick Siegler, Emiel Por, Bertrand Mennesson, Pin Chen, Kevin Fogarty, Olivier Guyon, Roser Juanola-Parramon, John Krist, Dimitri Mawet, Camilo Mejia Prada, Jeremy Kasdin, Laurent Pueyo, Susan Redmond, Garreth Ruane, Dan Sirbu, Karl Stapelfeldt, John Trauger, Neil Zimmerman

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution


NASA is about to embark on an ambitious program to develop a Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO) flagship mission to directly image ~25 potentially Earth-like planets and spectroscopically characterize them for signs of life, as recommended by the Astro2020 decadal survey. In addition, Astro2020 recommended a new approach for flagship formulation, which involves increasing the scope and depth of early, pre-phase A trades and technology maturation, as part of the new Great Observatories Maturation Program (GOMAP). The critical capability of the HWO mission is starlight suppression. To inform future architecture trades, it is necessary to survey a wide range of technologies, from the relatively mature ones such as the ones described in the LUVOIR and HabEx reports, to the relatively new and emerging ones, which may lead to breakthrough performance. In this paper, we present an interim update on a new effort, initiated by NASA’s Exoplanet Exploration Program (ExEP), to survey coronagraph design options for HWO. We present a preliminary summary of the survey, including: (1) a current list of coronagraph design options; (2) proposed evaluation criteria, such as expected mission yields and feasibility of maturing to TRL5 by 2029; and (3) tools and methods which we are using to quantify evaluations of different designs. While not charged to down-select or prioritize the different coronagraph designs, this survey is expected to be valuable in informing future mission teams of coronagraph design options. All interested coronagraph researchers are welcome to participate in this survey by contacting the first two authors of this paper.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets XI
EditorsGarreth J. Ruane
ISBN (Electronic)9781510665743
StatePublished - 2023
EventTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets XI 2023 - San Diego, United States
Duration: Aug 21 2023Aug 24 2023

Publication series

NameProceedings of SPIE - The International Society for Optical Engineering


ConferenceTechniques and Instrumentation for Detection of Exoplanets XI 2023
Country/TerritoryUnited States
CitySan Diego


  • coronagraph
  • habitable
  • habitable worlds observatory
  • high contrast
  • HWO
  • planet

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Computer Science Applications
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Electrical and Electronic Engineering


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