Infrared and optical measurements from a platform in the outer Solar System would provide an extraordinary and unique opportunity for specialized astrophysical investigations:

Extragalactic Background Light

  • Galaxy Evolution Models
  • Reionization
Exo-Planet Surveys
  • Reveal the structure and original of our Zodiacal dust cloud - the best local example for understanding Zodiacal light in exo-planet systems.
  • Dust Composition from the Inner to Outer Planets
  • Microlensing Search for Exo-planets
  • Exo-planet Transit Studies
Interplanetary and Kuiper Belt Dust
  • Kuiper Belt Dust and Solar System Evolution Models
  • Brightness and structure
  • Relationship to Kuiper Belt Objects
ZEBRA, the Zodiacal dust, Extragalactic Background and Reionization Apparatus, is a concept for a high-readiness instrument which would undertake science observations during the cruise phase of a outer planet mission sometime in the next decade. The ZEBRA concept calls for three optical/near-infrared instruments - an absolute photometer, a Fraunhofer line spectrometer, and a wide field camera - that will address questions ranging from the origin of the Solar System to the nature of the first generation of stars in the Universe.

As the Universe evolves in its first billion years UV radiation from massive stars within the earliest galaxies heats the gas between them to over 10,000 degrees Kelvin. The dark neutral hydrogen is transformed to ionized hydrogen, shown in blue, making those regions transparent to further ultra-violet radiation. In redshift it is about z~30 to 6.

Credits: Marcelo Alvarez, Ralf Kaehler & Tom Abel (KIPAC)