The Role of Interferometers in Future Space Astrophysics Missions
Ron Allen (STScI)
An important aspect of future space astrophysics missions in the UV-O-IR range is the pursuit of higher angular resolution. Such missions include the characterisation of exoplanetary systems, and imaging the surfaces of stars. Some of the general features of interferometeric imaging systems are discussed here, including their advantages and disadvantages. The physics of image formation and restoration using interferometers is well understood from radio astronomy, and a number of ground-based systems have shown that this experience is directly applicable to the UV-optical-IR systems we hope to see in space. The challenges presently are in the engineering. The lack of a coherent technical program to address these challenges within NASA, the astronomy community, and Industry. is a major concern for the future.