Presentation #318.01 in the session “New Ways to Look For Exoplanets”.
The long-term stability of exoplanetary atmospheres depends critically on the extreme-ultraviolet (EUV) flux from the host star. The EUV flux likely drives the demographics of the short-period planet population as well the ability for rocky planets to maintain habitable environments long enough for the emergence of life. In this talk, I will present the Extreme-ultraviolet Stellar Characterization for Atmospheric Physics and Evolution (ESCAPE) mission, an astrophysics Small Explorer mission currently in Phase A. ESCAPE employs extreme- and far-ultraviolet spectroscopy (70-1600 Angstroms) to characterize the high-energy radiation environment in the habitable zones (HZs) around nearby stars. ESCAPE provides the first comprehensive study of the stellar EUV environments that control atmospheric mass-loss and determine the habitability of rocky exoplanets. ESCAPE will survey over 200 stars, including known planet hosts, to measure EUV irradiance, EUV flare rates, and the characteristics of stellar coronal mass ejections (CMEs). The ESCAPE instrument comprises a grazing incidence telescope feeding four diffraction gratings and photon-counting detector. The science instrument will be assembled and tested in the space hardware facilities at the University of Colorado Boulder (CU) Laboratory for Atmospheric and Space Physics (LASP), and employs the versatile and high-heritage Ball Aerospace BCP-100 spacecraft. Data archives will reside at the Mikulski Archive for Space Telescopes (MAST).