The Wide Field InfraRed Survey Telescope (WFIRST) was the top ranked large space mission of the New Worlds, New Horizons Decadal Survey, and is currently under active study by NASA. Its primary instrument will be a large-format high-resolution near-infrared imager and slitless spectrometer. A primary goal of WFIRST will be to perform a high-cadence microlensing survey of the Galactic bulge to search for low-mass exoplanets beyond the ice line. We highlight some of the expected results of the WFIRST exoplanet survey. For example, the survey will probe the abundance of Earth-mass planets from less than 1 AU outwards, including free-floating planets. In its peak sensitivity range of ~2-5 AU, WFIRST will be sensitive to planets with masses lower than Mercury, and even down to the mass of Ganymede. Overall, WFIRST is expected to detect several thousand bound planets, in addition to several thousand free-floating planets. WFIRST will complete the exoplanet census begun by Kepler, enabling an unprecedented understanding of planetary systems and their formation. Copyright © 2013, International Astronomical Union.
Publication Source (Journal or Book title)
Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union
Penny, M., & Scott Gaudi, B. (2013). Exploring exoplanetary systems beyond 1AU with WFIRST. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union, 8 (S299), 62-63. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1743921313007886