Spectral and Polarimetric characterization of gazeous and telluric planets with SEE COAST
Anthony Boccaletti et al
SEE COAST stands for Super Earth Explorer - Coronagraphic Off-Axis Space Telescope. The concept was initially proposed to ESA for Cosmic Vision. None of the direct detection exoplanet proposals were selected in 2007 and we are now pursuing our efforts to consolidate the astrophysical program and the technical developments for the next call for proposal. The prime objective of SEE COAST is to contribute to the understanding of the formation and evolution of planetary systems. Exploring the diversity of these objects is therefore the main driver to define the instrumentation. In the next decade the improvement of radial velocity instruments and obviously temporal coverage will provide us with a large numbers of long period giants as well as telluric planets, namely Super Earths. Obtaining the spectral and polarimetric signatures of these objects in the visible range to measure atmospheric parameters (molecular composition, clouds, soils, ... ) will be unique and with important scientific returns. A space mission complementary to near IR instruments like SPHERE, GPI, JWST and later ELTs for the full characterization of giants and Super Earths is a first secure step towards the longer term goal that is the characterization of telluric planets with mass and atmosphere comparable to that of the Earth. An overview of the astrophysical motivation and the trade-off that lead to a simple integrated concept of a space-based high contrast imaging instrument will be given in this talk.