Exoplanet Searches by Future Deep Space Missions
International Academy of Astronautics, Via Martorelli 43, 10155 Torino, Italy
The search for exoplanets could beneﬁt from gravitational lensing if we could get to 550 AU from the Sun and beyond. This is because the gravitational lens of the Sun would highly intensify there any weak electromagnetic wave reaching the solar system from distant planets in the Galaxy (see Maccone 2009). The gravitational lens of the Sun, however, has a drawback: the solar Corona. Electrons in the Corona make electromagnetic waves diverge and this pushes the focus out to distances higher than 550 AU. Jupiter is the second larger mass in the solar system after the Sun, but in this focal game not only the mass matters: rather, what really matters is the ratio between the radius of the body squared and the mass of the body. In this regard, Jupiter qualiﬁes as the second best choice for a space mission, requiring the spacecraft to reach 6,077 AU. In this paper, we study the beneﬁt of exoplanet searches by deep space missions.
© Owned by the authors, published by EDP Sciences, 2011