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Suggested Citation:"2. Basic Scientific Goals." National Research Council. 1990. Strategy for the Detection and Study of Other Planetary Systems and Extrasolar Planetary Materials: 1990-2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1732.
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Page 18
Suggested Citation:"2. Basic Scientific Goals." National Research Council. 1990. Strategy for the Detection and Study of Other Planetary Systems and Extrasolar Planetary Materials: 1990-2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1732.
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Page 19
Suggested Citation:"2. Basic Scientific Goals." National Research Council. 1990. Strategy for the Detection and Study of Other Planetary Systems and Extrasolar Planetary Materials: 1990-2000. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press. doi: 10.17226/1732.
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Page 20

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Basic Scientific Goals The fundamental scientific rationale for investigation of extrasolar planetary materials has been set out in the Introduction to this report Within this context, basic research goals may be defined for each of the broad major research areas regarded by COMPLEX as essential compo- nents of this new field of planetary exploration. 1. The search for and study of evolved extrasolar planetary systems. Scientific and technological techniques appear to be at or near the thresh- olds of sensitivity and precision needed to detect and study large planets in other stellar systems. The initial emphasis in this effort will focus on stars in the neighborhood of the Sun, at distances out to 10 to 100 parsecs (1 parsec = 3.26 light years = 2 x 105 AU = 3 x 10~3 km) to sample an adequate population, and in the mass range of 1 M<> or less because the amplitudes of stellar reflex motions are largest for low-mass stars and thus are most readily detected and precisely measured. Roughly 500 stars with a median mass of about 0.3 Me lie within 10 parsecs of the Sun. The primely initial goals are to confirm the presence and frequency of, or limit the existence of, extrasolar planets in the Jupiter- to Uranus-mass range, and to study the dynamics of discovered systems. 1b achieve these goals requires the following: · Development of instrumentation to enable sensitive search tech- niques, and application of these techniques to a stellar population sufficient) Urge to address decisive) the fundamental question of existence or absence of e~rasolar planeta;ry systems; 18

19 · Dete~?nination of Cal distributions of occurrence, if mul- nple detections are made, among samples of stars of various masses awl evo~dona:'y states; arid · Measurement of physical and dynamical properties, incl~utg dzs- mbanons of masses and orbital parameters. 2. The study of systems of dust and gas associated with young stars and considered likely to be planet-forming environments. We know that such systems exist. Requisite observational capabilities for first-order char- acterization are or can be provided by existing or planned ground- and space-based observatories. Planetary materials in our own system provide some basis for interpretation of data. The general goals of this study are as follows: Obtain statistics on the occurrence of dust systems among young pre-main-sequence and main-sequence stars of different types and ages; · Charactenze dust systems condensed as disks by determining di- mensions, masses, arid structural elements such as radial d~nbunons of den- siiies, temperatures, and orbital velocities, degrees of asymmetry, occurrence and orientation of jets, ratios of dust to gas, and broadband compositional features; and · Investigate the ante scales for the apparent evolution of circum- ste11ar disks around sol~r-type pre-main-sequence stars from massive, optical) thick structures to l~w-dust-mass, optical) thin disks in which prepl~etary or planetary bodies may have accreted or may be in the process of accreiing. 3. Supporting theoretical and laboratory studies. Real understanding of preplanetary and planetary systems requires a close interplay between new observations and theoretical and laboratory advances in areas related to the origin and physical and chemical evolution of molecular clouds, accretion disks, and planetary bodies, including the planets and accessible planetary materials (e.g., meteorites) of our own solar system. This general goal requires both new theoretical comparisons among such systems and related laboratory experiments, including considerations of the following: · Companion of low-mass stars, substellar objects, and planets and the differences and similarities of their formation conditions; Various types of binary systems and plan eddy systems and the relations among them; · Fragmentation of a collapsing and rotating assemblage into multi- ple objects and their subsequent evolution; · Physical and chemical characterization of stellar nebulae through time, silicate-carbon dust grains and icy-organic Gain mantles, the precipitation of solid matter from cooling nebular gas, He conditions under which dust paroles and planetesimals accrete or erode, and the evolution of accretion

20 disks from initiation of dust agglomeranon into subplanetary objects through subsequent plarzet-buildingsta~s; and · Defininon of propernes of planetary systems in the process of formation that could be subject to astronomical observanow

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Strategy for the Detection and Study of Other Planetary Systems and Extrasolar Planetary Materials: 1990-2000 Get This Book
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This volume addresses a new opportunity in the planetary sciences--to extend our exploration outward to discover and study planetary systems that may have formed or are forming around other stars.

It concludes that a coordinated program of astronomical observation, laboratory research, theoretical development, and understanding of the dynamics and origins of whatever may be found would be a technologically feasible and potentially richly rewarding extension of the study of bodies within the solar system.

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