Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Long Twilight Struggle to Save SIM

  Today marks the beginning of the long twilight struggle to save the SIM space interferometer.  I am borrowing from Winston Churchill's description of the Cold War to emphasize that the effort to resuscitate the SIM project may be long and torturous.  However, I believe that NASA must eventually build and fly this elegant discovery machine.   The Space Interferometry Mission will produce stunning results in both exoplanet research, as well as basic astronomy.   In future posts I will link to a variety of studies that convey just how revolutionary this spacecraft will be.   To start, here is the link to a brief description of the discoveries that SIM will make in exoplanet research and general astrophysics.  The full title of this study is "SIM PlanetQuest: The Most Promising Near-Term Technique to Detect, Find Masses, and Determine Three-dimensional Orbits of Nearby Habitable Planets."

SIM PlanetQuest

   In the field of exoplanet research, SIM is the most important mission that NASA has proposed to date.  SIM will give mankind the ability, for the first time in history, to discover nearby Earth-sized planets.  In addition, SIM will be able to find new Earths which orbit their parent stars at the right distance to allow life to develop and flourish.

   So, let the fight for SIM begin!

Philip Horzempa