Spitzer Oversight, day 1

Today was the first of two days at the Spitzer Science Center, where I am (for the 8th year in a row) helping to advise the Spitzer mission as part of the Spitzer Oversight Committee, chaired by Mike Hauser (STScI, retired). The mission is in its last years, funded to continue observing to March 2019, then closing out for a year-ish afterwards, with no opportunity for further extension. Its lifetime is not set by money alone, however: Geometric constraints on its downlink to the Deep Space Network and its power and insolation and thermal needs during that downlink take the spacecraft out of safe operating conditions in 2019.

One of the things that was discussed today was synergies with JWST and TESS. There will be more than a year in which TESS and Spitzer are simultaneously flying. This creates a lot of interesting opportunities. I made a mental note to discuss this with some of my more ambitious exoplanet people. The JWST Early Release Science call has been released, and the calibration and photometry things we have learned (over many years) in the Spitzer, Kepler, and SDSS contexts (and Euclid and LSST contexts) could form the basis of a great ERS proposal. Let's not wait for five to ten years to figure out how to do the best possible science with JWST! Again, if I am going to go there, I need to assemble the right team.

Before the start of the meeting, I had lunch with Kat Deck (Caltech). We had a wide-ranging conversation, which included exoplanets, proto-planetary disks, the theory of planet formation, and gravitational radiation backgrounds and sources. On the latter, I really have to get involved; there are so many simple questions at the intersection of theory and data analysis.

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