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The project titled of “Pilot Research of the Critical Technique for High-contrast Coronagraph” has completed with a comprehensive evaluation of “excellence”.
Update time: 2015-06-25
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On May 12th, 2015, the Exoplanets Detection & High-Resolution Research Group (EDHRG) of NIAOT was attended the evaluation meeting for the projects that are supported by the "Strategic Priority Research Program" of the CAS (Second Run). This evaluation was organized by National Space Science Center (NSSC), CAS. In this meeting, the experts have listened the presentation of “Pilot Research of the Critical Technique for High-contrast Coronagraph in Future Space Missions” (Grant No: XDA04070600, PI of Dr. Jiangpei Dou). After the question and answer sessions, the panel has finally reached a conclusion, as follows:

EDHRG@NIAOT has organized and researched on the scientific application, conception study, feasibility testifying of critical technique, and the associated data reduction algorithm development. Finally, EDHRG completed and provided two valuable reports titled as “Conception Design of the High-contrast Coronagraph in Future Space Missions” and “Feasibility Test of Techniques of High-contrast Coronagraph in Future Space Missions”, respectively. And the research group has fully completed the program with 10 times better than the requirements in the original proposal, making them among the top level of the similar international research groups. Through this program, EDHRG has made many important publications in national and international astronomical journals as well as important conferences in relative fields.

The panel finally approved the project to pass the assessment and be ranked as “excellence”.

Currently, EDHRG@NIAOT has been supported by the third Run of "Strategic Priority Research Program" of the CAS (Grant No. XDA04075200). In this program, we will improve the contrast 10 times better by introducing optimal hardware and optimal testbeds in a vacuum tank, which should finally deliver a contrast of 10E-10, which can be used for the direct detection of the Earth-like planets located in the habitable zone of a solar type star. Meanwhile, a space mission named as Cool Planet Imager (CPI, including two ambitious programs of JEEEDIS and EELS), has been listed in the top among the programs in the Strategic Priority Research Program of CAS, Space Astronomy of Year of 2016-2030. Finally and hopefully, we can realize the direct confirmation of exo-life signals (extra-terrestrial life), by the direct detection of photons form another "Earth" and spectroscopy analysis of its atmosphere. The project will allow us human beings to answer “Are we alone in the universe?”, which is one of the most fundamental scientific questions. Such a discovery will affect human beings' entire perception of our place in the universe, therefore extending the Copernican Revolution.


Nanjing Institute of Astronomical Optics & Technology ,National Astronomical Observatories ,CAS