The space infrared interferometric telescope (SPIRIT): High-resolution imaging and spectroscopy in the far-infrared

David Leisawitz, Charles Baker, Amy Barger, Dominic Benford, Andrew Blain, Rob Boyle, Richard Broderick, Jason Budinoff, John Carpenter, Richard Caverly, Phil Chen, Steve Cooley, Christine Cottingham, Julie Crooke, Dave DiPietro, Mike DiPirro, Michael Femiano, Art Ferrer, Jacqueline Fischer, Jonathan P. GardnerLou Hallock, Kenny Harris, Kate Hartman, Martin Harwit, Lynne Hillenbrand, Tupper Hyde, Drew Jones, Jim Kellogg, Alan Kogut, Marc Kuchner, Bill Lawson, Javier Lecha, Maria Lecha, Amy Mainzer, Jim Mannion, Anthony Martino, Paul Mason, John Mather, Gibran McDonald, Rick Mills, Lee Mundy, Stan Ollendorf, Joe Pellicciotti, Dave Quinn, Kirk Rhee, Stephen Rinehart, Tim Sauerwine, Robert Silverberg, Terry Smith, Gordon Stacey, H. Philip Stahl, Johannes Staguhn, Steve Tompkins, June Tveekrem, Sheila Wall, Mark Wilson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

72 Scopus citations


We report results of a recently-completed pre-formulation phase study of SPIRIT, a candidate NASA Origins Probe mission. SPIRIT is a spatial and spectral interferometer with an operating wavelength range 25-400 μm. SPIRIT will provide sub-arcsecond resolution images and spectra with resolution R = 3000 in a 1′ field of view to accomplish three primary scientific objectives: (1) learn how planetary systems form from protostellar disks, and how they acquire their inhomogeneous composition; (2) characterize the family of extrasolar planetary systems by imaging the structure in debris disks to understand how and where planets of different types form; and (3) learn how high-redshift galaxies formed and merged to form the present-day population of galaxies. Observations with SPIRIT will be complementary to those of the James Webb Space Telescope and the ground-based Atacama Large Millimeter Array. All three observatories could be operational contemporaneously.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)689-703
Number of pages15
JournalAdvances in Space Research
Issue number5
StatePublished - 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Cryogenic optics
  • Infrared
  • Infrared detectors
  • Interferometry
  • Origins probe
  • Submillimeter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aerospace Engineering
  • Astronomy and Astrophysics
  • Geophysics
  • Atmospheric Science
  • Space and Planetary Science
  • Earth and Planetary Sciences(all)


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