DARWIN Mission Summary Status
Publication date: 19 Feb 2007
Authors: ESA SCI-A
Copyright: ESADarwin is one of the most challenging space projects ever considered by the European Space Agency. Its principal objectives are to detect Earth-like planets around nearby stars, to analyze the composition of their atmospheres and to assess their ability to sustain life as we know it. The Darwin mission is conceived as a nulling interferometer operating in L2 which makes use of on-axis destructive interferences to extinguish the stellar light while keeping the off-axis signal of the orbiting planet.
The objective of this document is to summarize the status of the activities related to Darwin that have been recently completed by ESA. Most activities have been performed under ESA contracts in European Industries and Scientific Institutes. These activities cover the development of core technologies, the design and manufacture of critical payload subsystems, tests of technology demonstration breadboards, the development of software simulators, studies of candidate Darwin payload and spacecraft architectures, and definitions of guidance, navigation and control systems for multi-spacecraft missions.