The Science Case for an Extended Spitzer Mission
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The Science Case for an Extended Spitzer Mission

  • Author(s): Yee, JC
  • Fazio, GG
  • Benjamin, R
  • Kirkpatrick, JD
  • Malkan, MA
  • Trilling, D
  • Carey, S
  • Ciardi, DR
  • Apai, D
  • Ashby, MLN
  • Ballard, S
  • Bean, JL
  • Beatty, T
  • Berta-Thompson, Z
  • Capak, P
  • Charbonneau, D
  • Chesley, S
  • Cowan, NB
  • Crossfield, I
  • Cushing, MC
  • Wit, JD
  • Deming, D
  • Dickinson, M
  • Dittmann, J
  • Dragomir, D
  • Dressing, C
  • Emery, J
  • Faherty, JK
  • Gagne, J
  • Gaudi, BS
  • Gillon, M
  • Grillmair, CJ
  • Harris, A
  • Hora, J
  • Ingalls, JG
  • Kataria, T
  • Kreidberg, L
  • Krick, JE
  • Lowrance, PJ
  • Mahoney, WA
  • Metchev, SA
  • Mommert, M
  • Mueller, MM
  • Shvartzvald, Y
  • Smith, H
  • Stevenson, KB
  • Teplitz, HI
  • Willner, SP
  • et al.
Abstract

Although the final observations of the Spitzer Warm Mission are currently scheduled for March 2019, it can continue operations through the end of the decade with no loss of photometric precision. As we will show, there is a strong science case for extending the current Warm Mission to December 2020. Spitzer has already made major impacts in the fields of exoplanets (including microlensing events), characterizing near Earth objects, enhancing our knowledge of nearby stars and brown dwarfs, understanding the properties and structure of our Milky Way galaxy, and deep wide-field extragalactic surveys to study galaxy birth and evolution. By extending Spitzer through 2020, it can continue to make ground-breaking discoveries in those fields, and provide crucial support to the NASA flagship missions JWST and WFIRST, as well as the upcoming TESS mission, and it will complement ground-based observations by LSST and the new large telescopes of the next decade. This scientific program addresses NASA's Science Mission Directive's objectives in astrophysics, which include discovering how the universe works, exploring how it began and evolved, and searching for life on planets around other stars.

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