SETI & Technosignatures

Detecting Technosignatures from Earth-scale Civilizations

By Keith Cowing
Status Report
Astronomical Journal
October 30, 2023
Filed under ,
Detecting Technosignatures from Earth-scale Civilizations

Assuming civilizations have similar interplanetary communications and radar capability to NASA’s Deep Space Network, what is the feasibility of intercepting their communications?

Interplanetary conjunctions between Earth-like exoplanets, their stars, and other planets in their systems provide one of the most unique and pragmatic opportunities for detecting technosignatures. While eavesdropping on terrestrial communications becomes limited by a planet’s rotation, the beams of satellite communications and interplanetary radar transmissions are tracked, providing the most persistent and powerful opportunity for signal interception.

In this study, we present a framework for assessing exoplanet habitability and establishing quantitative bounds for detecting Earth-scale technosignatures from Earth-like planets. These constraints for time, frequency, sky positions, and observatory sensitivity provide recommended observational guidelines for using state-of-the-art and future ground-based radio observatories toward technosignature detection. Applying this framework, 16 exoplanet targets are proposed for radio observation.

Detecting Technosignatures from Earth-scale Civilizations, The Astronomical Journal (open access)


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) 🖖🏻