Mission Concepts and Measurement Requirements for a Future Far-Infrared Space Mission

A satellite meeting at the Pathways Towards Habitable Planets conference (13 - 17 July 2015, Bern, Switzerland) organized with two goals in mind: (1) to serve as an opportunity for the participants to learn about concepts for future far-infrared space missions, and to learn what is technically feasible and affordable in a mission that could begin in the 2020s; and (2) to serve as an opportunity for the participants to discuss measurement requirements for the mission, including angular resolution, spectral resolution, and sensitivity. Measuring the spatial distribution of gaseous and frozen water in nascent planetary systems is a key objective.

This satellite meeting was proposed in conjunction with the Pathways conference to discuss mission concepts and measurement requirements for a future far-infrared space mission. A likely driver for such a mission is the quest to understand how habitable conditions arise during the process of planet formation. Plans for the ESA-JAXA SPICA mission are progressing, and the "Far-infrared Surveyor" mission in NASA's Astrophysics Roadmap may evolve into a mission that would focus on this topic, among others deemed important. NASA will likely welcome international partners if the mission comes to fruition, a prospect that depends on endorsement in the next US Decadal Survey. This satellite meeting is intended to inform and learn from experts in the field of planetary system formation and planet habitability.