2007 Annual Science Report

NASA Goddard Space Flight Center Reporting  |  JUL 2006 – JUN 2007

BioSignatures of Earth and Earth-Like Planets

Project Summary
4 Institutions
3 Teams
0 Publications
0 Field Sites
Field Sites

Project Progress

Jeffrey Pedelty was a co-investigator on the Extrasolar Planet Observation and Characterization (EPOCh) proposal (GCA co-Investigator Drake Deming is P. I.) submitted in April 2006 in response to the Discovery Mission of Opportunity solicitation. The proposal sought to re-use the Deep Impact spacecraft and instruments to observe extrasolar transiting planets, and to obtain global synoptic images and spectra of Earth at distances ranging from 17 to 25 million km (0.12 – 0.17 AU). These observations will measure Earth’s spectral biosignatures in a way analogous to future terrestrial planet observing missions. This proposal was selected in October 2006 for a more detailed Concept Study Report (CSR) and was merged with another Deep Impact re-use proposal (DIXI) led by GCA co-Investigator Michael A’Hearn (University of Maryland). The combined mission is named EPOXI. In early July 2007, EPOXI was selected for implementation. Pedelty will lead observations of Earth (with Victoria Meadows, Univ. Washington) that will provide another test and validation of the model for Earth’s emergent spectrum developed by the NAI-funded Virtual Planetary Lab (VPL) led by Meadows.

Pedelty was also a co-investigator on the VPL 4D renewal proposal submitted in response to the NAI CAN-4 solicitation with Meadows (Univ. Washington) as P. I. This proposal was selected for funding beginning in the next reporting year. Pedelty will participate in Earth modeling efforts that will serve as an analogue for biosignature detections in other planetary systems. These efforts will couple tightly with the EPOXI mission described above.

The NAI Director visited Goddard in February 2007, and Pedelty presented an overview of Earth observations planned with the EPOCh/EPOXI mission and the coupling of NASA Earth remote sensing data with the VPL modeling. He also presented a summary of his June 2006 presentation to the NAI Virus Focus Group about thermal remote sensing of Boiling Springs Lake (Lassen Volcanic National Park).

    Jeffrey Pedelty
    Objective 7.2
    Biosignatures to be sought in nearby planetary systems