The Antarctic plateau: what it offers as a testbed for space

Storey, J. W. V. et al., 2003, Earths: DARWIN/TPF and the Search for Extrasolar Terrestrial Planets, 539, 621 | View on ADS (2003ESASP.539..621S)


The Antarctic plateau is unlike anywhere else on earth. It is of course extremely cold and dry. However, what is not so well known is that it is also very high and that the atmosphere above the plateau is extremely calm, with very low wind speeds at all altitudes. This makes the plateau an ideal location for testing astronomical instrumentation and for exploring concepts that will later be flown in space. In addition, the plateau provides an ideal location for future telescopes - including interferometers and Extremely Large Telescopes - that could carry out some crucial aspects of the science presently being considered for space missions such as Darwin and TPF.

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