Denis Defrère and the "LBTI project" team rewarded by NASA
Denis Defrère, astrophysicist at the PSILab (STAR Research Institute/Faculty of Science) and research engineer at the Centre Spatial de Liège (CSL), is among the winners of the "Group Achievement Award" awarded by NASA.
ASA has just rewarded the LBTI (Large Binocular Telescope Interferometer) project team - to which Denis Defrère researcher at ULiège and the Centre Spatial De Liège belongs - dedicated to the implementation of an instrument to provide exo-zodiacal dust measurements. The LBTI is an interferometric instrument funded by NASA and installed on the Large Binocular Telescope located in southeastern Arizona. It has been specially designed to study dust in the habitable zone of nearby stars (also called exozodiacal dust), a natural by-product of the planet formation process. NASA is very interested in this exozodiacal dust which, if present in too large quantities, can be an obstacle to the direct observation of Earth-like exoplanets.
Denis Defrère was i nstrument scientist of the LBTI (2012-2016) and has remained an active collaborator of the LBTI since his return to the PSILab of the University of Liège. Other scientists from the PSILab team of the University of Liège (Olivier Absil, Lindsay Marion) have also been involved in the project and, in particular, in the development of the data analysis method. The finalr esults of the LBTI will be published this year and will help in the design of future space missions that aim to take pictures of planets similar to Earth.
The NASA Group Achievement Award (GAA) is an award given by the U.S. space agency to groups of government or nongovernmental personnel in recognition of collective achievements contributing to NASA's mission.