WFIRST Exoplanet Data Challenge

Sample spectra from Data Challenge #1. Shown are simulated spectra for three of the four exoplanets at the highest signal-to-noise and resolving power (top row) and at the lowest signal-to-noise and resolving power (bottom row)..

Sample spectra from Data Challenge #1. Shown are simulated spectra for three of the four exoplanets at the highest signal-to-noise and resolving power (top row) and at the lowest signal-to-noise and resolving power (bottom row)..

August 26, 2016 – The WFIRST mission is currently in Phase A, during which time the science and instrument performance requirements will be defined for exoplanet imaging and spectroscopy. In order to provide the project with the best possible inputs before the end of Phase A in 2017, the WFIRST team is seeking participants with spectral retrieval expertise through the WFIRST exoplanets data challenge.

The Challenge will run from August 15 to November 15, 2016. The 2016 Challenge consists of a blind spectral retrieval exercise using simulated, extracted spectra for several known RV and/or hypothetical discovery exoplanets. The spectra will not need to be extracted from simulated IFS data. Instead, the focus will be on the impact of signal-to-noise ratio and spectral resolution on the detection/measurement of atmospheric abundances and other planet properties. Even with that relatively simple goal, the Challenge will be non-trivial!

Incentive to Participate:

While defining the first space-borne exoplanet imaging mission is hopefully its own compelling reason for doing this, to make this a little more fun, the WFIRST Data Challenge Science Investigation Team is offering travel expenses and registration costs for one person on each team that fully completes the Challenge (all four planets, all SNR and R values, all requested retrieval outputs) to attend the 2017 WFIRST Science Meeting, or another exoplanets meeting of his/her choice (up to $2000).

Participation in the Challenge is contingent upon acceptance of terms which will be included in the invitation email.

If you wish to participate, please register and you will be sent an invitation.

If you have questions, contact Margaret Turnbull at mturnbull@seti.org, cc: David Ciardi at ciardi@ipac.caltech.edu.

WFIRST is the agency’s next major astrophysics observatory, following the launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018. The observatory will survey large regions of the sky in near-infrared light. With a view 100 times bigger than that of NASA’s Hubble Space Telescope, WFIRST will aid researchers in their efforts to unravel the secrets of dark energy and dark matter, and explore the evolution of the cosmos. It also will discover new worlds outside our solar system and advance the search for worlds that could be suitable for life.