A proposed NASA mission in which a pair of space telescopes will study planetary formation around other stars as well as extrasolar planets themselves. The TPF mission would involve a coronagraph operating at visible wavelengths, to be launched around 2014, and a long-baseline interferometer operating in the infrared, for launch before 2020. These observatories will measure the size, temperature, and orbits of planets as small as the Earth in distant solar systems, while spectroscopic observations will reveal the composition of their atmospheres to find whether a planet currently supports life or someday could do so. TPF's extremely high resolution will also allow it to image targets of astrophysical interest, such as the disks surrounding the central black holes of galaxies.
Subjects: Astronomy and Astrophysics.