SETI & Technosignatures

Opportunities For Technosignature Science In The Astro2020 Report

By Keith Cowing
March 17, 2022
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Opportunities For Technosignature Science In The Astro2020 Report

The Astro2020 report outlines numerous recommendations that could significantly advance technosignature science. Technosignatures refer to any observable manifestations of extraterrestrial technology, and the search for technosignatures is part of the continuum of the astrobiological search for biosignatures.

The search for technosignatures is directly relevant to the “World and Suns in Context” theme and “Pathways to Habitable Worlds” program in the Astro2020 report. The relevance of technosignatures was explicitly mentioned in “E1 Report of the Panel on Exoplanets, Astrobiology, and the Solar System,” which stated that “life’s global impacts on a planet’s atmosphere, surface, and temporal behavior may therefore manifest as potentially detectable exoplanet biosignatures, or technosignatures” and that potential technosignatures, much like biosignatures, must be carefully analyzed to mitigate false positives.

The connection of technosignatures to this high-level theme and program can be emphasized, as the report makes clear the purpose is to address the question “Are we alone?” This question is also presented in the Explore Science 2020-2024 plan as a driver of NASA’s mission.

This white paper summarizes the potential technosignature opportunities within the recommendations of the Astro2020 report, should they be implemented by funding agencies. The objective of this paper is to demonstrate the relevance of technosignature science to a wide range of missions and urge the scientific community to include the search for technosignatures as part of the stated science justifications for the large and medium programs that include the Infrared/Optical/Ultraviolet space telescope, Extremely Large Telescopes, probe-class far-infrared and X-ray missions, and various facilities in radio astronomy.

Jacob Haqq-Misra, Sofia Sheikh, Manasvi Lingam, Ravi Kopparapu, Adam Frank, Jason Wright, Eric Mamajek, Nick Siegler, Daniel Price, the NExSS Working Group on Technosignatures

Comments: Unsolicited white paper by the NExSS Working Group on Technosignatures, 11 pages
Subjects: Instrumentation and Methods for Astrophysics (astro-ph.IM); Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP); Popular Physics (physics.pop-ph)
Cite as: arXiv:2203.08968 [astro-ph.IM] (or arXiv:2203.08968v1 [astro-ph.IM] for this version)
Submission history
From: Jacob Haqq-Misra
[v1] Wed, 16 Mar 2022 22:18:52 UTC (163 KB)
Astrobiology, SETI, Technosignatures,

Explorers Club Fellow, ex-NASA Space Station Payload manager/space biologist, Away Teams, Journalist, Lapsed climber, Synaesthete, Na’Vi-Jedi-Freman-Buddhist-mix, ASL, Devon Island and Everest Base Camp veteran, (he/him) 🖖🏻