Living reference work entry
TPF/Darwin refers to two canceled space missions that were dedicated to finding and characterizing extrasolar Earthlike planets by directly imaging them, with the ultimate goal of detecting evidence of life. This broad concept and its variations have borne many names. “Terrestrial Planet Finder” (TPF) was a mission from NASA whereas “Darwin” was a phase-A study performed by the European Space Agency. The proposed instrument was either several formation-flying telescopes (Fig. 1, bottom) linked to form an infrared interferometer or a single large telescope collecting visible light and manipulating it with a coronagraph (Fig. 1, top). The spacecraft was to carry an associated spectrometer capable of identifying atmospheric biomarkers such as O 2, O 3, CO 2, and H 2O.
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