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ZOdiacal Dust Intensity for Astrophysics Cubesat (ZODIAC): A Mission to Measure Zodiacal and Cosmic Background Light

Presentation #304.09 in the session Space-based Instruments — iPoster Session.

Published onJun 29, 2022
ZOdiacal Dust Intensity for Astrophysics Cubesat (ZODIAC): A Mission to Measure Zodiacal and Cosmic Background Light

The ZOdiacal Dust Intensity for Astrophysics Cubesat (ZODIAC) is a proposed near-infrared (NIR) wavelength CubeSat mission designed to study the structure and dynamics of our interplanetary dust cloud (IDC) though spectral imaging of the zodiacal light (ZL). Building on high-heritage instrumentation and methods, ZODIAC is designed for a 1-year mission to survey a range of sight lines and provide Tipped-Filter and Fabry-Perot imaging spectroscopic observations not available from ground-based or sub-orbital platforms. A 6U spacecraft bus providing power, attitude control, telemetry, and a data-storage computer will interface to the detector readout, temperature control and thermometry, and filter actuation systems through custom-built electronics. Using high precision spectro-photometric measurements conducted from low Earth orbit, these data will address three primary science questions: (1) what are the source populations for interplanetary dust in our solar system?; (2) how does the IDC structure of our solar system compare with observed and predicted inner exozodiacal disks?; and (3) how bright is the extragalactic background light (EBL) at NIR wavelengths? Together, these data will answer questions relating to the sources of dust in our and other solar systems, and will enable new absolute measurements of the EBL by pinning the absolute brightness of the ZL foreground. In this poster we will describe the science drivers for the mission, overview the hardware implementation, and discuss the broad-ranging, interdisciplinary scientific understanding we can expect to result from the mission.

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