Last Updated: August 17, 2006

A Candidate Architecture For the NASA/DOE Joint Dark Energy Mission

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Destiny is a candidate architecture for the NASA/DOE Joint Dark Energy Mission (JDEM). The mission measures the expansion rate of the Universe using supernovae as tracers and characterizes the nature of "dark energy", under Principal Investigator Tod R. Lauer.


Destiny is a mission concept for a 1.8m near-infrared (NIR) grism-mode space telescope optimized to return richly sampled Hubble diagrams of Type Ia and Type II supernovae (SN) over the redshift range 0.5 < z < 1.7 for determining cosmological distances, measuring the expansion rate of the Universe as a function of time, and characterizing the nature of the so-called "dark energy".

The central concept of our proposed Dark Energy Space Telescope (Destiny) is an all-grism NIR survey camera. SN will be discovered by repeated imaging of an area located at the North Ecliptic Pole (NEP). Grism spectra with resolving power R ~ 75 will provide broad-band spectrophotometry, redshifts, SN classification, as well as valuable time-resolved diagnostic data for understanding the SN explosion physics.

This approach features only a single mode of operation, a single detector technology, and a single instrument. Although grism spectroscopy is slow compared to SN detectors in any single broad-band filter for photometry, the multiplex advantage of being able to observe a large field of view of a full octave in wavelength simultaneously makes this approach highly competitive.

Our focus will be to refine the techniques, requirements, implementation, and cost of a space-based grism survey of distant supernovae.

Strengths of the Destiny Approach

  1. Simultaneous photometric and spectroscopic observations
  2. Photometric bands track redshift
  3. One instrument / one detector technology
  4. Simple operations / reduced telemetry
  5. No time critical observations


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