2022 Should See Start of Technology Demos Leading to High Resolution Exoplanet Imaging

A NASA NIAC Phase III is developing and plans to fly a 2022 TDM (Technology Demonstration Mission) to prove the SGLF’s (Solar Gravitational Lens Focus) mission architecture. They will then prepare a near-term (by 2024), low-cost (less than $40M) mission to fly through the solar system faster than any spacecraft ever ~7 AU/year, capable of rendezvous with an interstellar object (ISO).

During Phase III they will consider a set of missions to demo critical technologies.

These efforts align with our roadmap for the SGLF mission capability build-up:
• 2020-21: Phase III develops SGLF design/cost, validates critical technology;
• 2021: SGLF technology roadmap; tech demo mission(s) (TDM) formulated; coronagraph design; initial TDM is designed, passes PDR, readied for flight;
• 2022: A public-private partnership (PPP) initiates technology demonstration; series of TDMs proposed via the PPP;
• 2023-4: Sailcraft flights (less than $20M) to achieve TRL 9;
• 2026-8: Sun-accelerated flights (with ~10 AU/yr); confirm CONOPS;
• 2027: SGLF Project starts for a preselected target;
• 2032-42: Launch a string-of-pearls (SoP) mission (20+ AU/yr) to the target;
• 2060: Discover life beyond the solar system.

By 2060, this strategy could deliver results of tremendous value to our civilization. With Phase III, a high-resolution exoplanet imaging could be achieved in the 21st century, as a flexible, low-cost, affordable string-of-pearls (SoP) concept going faster/further into deep space while also exploring the outer solar system.

12 thoughts on “2022 Should See Start of Technology Demos Leading to High Resolution Exoplanet Imaging”

  1. I guess they grabbed the first image in their file and didn't guess that anyone would think that this affected the point they were trying to illustrate.

  2. Gosh, why they used, for this demo, a 3d mosaic image (Blue Marble 2012 if I am not mistaken) which clearly shows a disproportionately big North America, instead of real distant photo of Earth, like from DSCOVR L1 probe?

  3. The Local ISM is a worthwhile region of study, so in combination with SGL missions, there's a lot of amazing science that can be achieved with these missions. Higher mission speeds will be feasible as the Solar Sail tech improves – 70 AU/year is entirely doable.

  4. The gradual reduction of kg to LEO prices will allow some interesting developments.

    When launching a test or device into space is affordable for a university lab using a commercial provider, it would be much easier to see some kind of daring projects come to life, instead of waiting decades in the queue of more important projects to be launched by the government agencies.

  5. Solid plan and not excessively expensive so risk of getting shelved due to budget cuts is somewhat mitigated. Would like to see it progress at Space X speed though ha ha

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