Support should be given for implementation of one or more ground-based
large-aperture IR interferometers capable of surveying main sequence
stars within 10 pc to detect exozodiacal clouds to a sensitivity
level of 10-zodi or better. This will allow identification of
the least dusty systems as a precursor to IR searches for earth-like
A space-based exozodiacal mapper less sensitive than a
planet-search instrument could find cloud asymmetries and planetary
dust "wakes" that would indicate the presence and locations of
planets and discern the orbit plane orientation in systems toward
which the planet-search instrument could then be directed.
and theoretical studies of the structure and history of our local
zodiacal cloud should be made to: a) allow better interpretation
of observations of exozodiacal clouds, and b) better characterize
foreground emission that will interfere with exozodiacal mapping
and extrasolar planet searches, especially allowing determination
of the best location in our solar system for a planet-search instrument.
|Some support should be given
to projects aimed at determining the age of field stars of solar
type because the average dust surface brightness should decrease
with time in each system. Searches for earth-like planets should
be directed first toward older systems.