Life Beyond the Solar System: Remotely Detectable Biosignatures

For the first time in human history, we will soon be able to apply the scientific method to the question “Are We Alone?” The rapid advance of exoplanet discovery, planetary systems science, and telescope technology will soon allow scientists to search for life beyond our Solar System through direct observation of extrasolar planets.

This endeavor will occur alongside searches for habitable environments and signs of life within our Solar System. While the searches are thematically related and will inform each other, they will require separate observational techniques. The search for life on exoplanets holds potential through the great diversity of worlds to be explored beyond our Solar System. However, there are also unique challenges related to the relatively limited data this search will obtain on any individual world.

This white paper reviews the scientific community’s ability to use data from future telescopes to search for life on exoplanets. This material summarizes products from the Exoplanet Biosignatures Workshop Without Walls (EBWWW). The EBWWW was constituted by a series of online and in person activities, with participation from the international exoplanet and astrobiology communities, to assess state of the science and future research needs for the remote detection of life on planets outside our Solar System.

Shawn Domagal-Goldman, Nancy Y. Kiang, Niki Parenteau, David C. Catling, Shiladitya DasSarma, Yuka Fujii, Chester E. Harman, Adrian Lenardic, Enric Pallé, Christopher T. Reinhard, Edward W. Schwieterman, Jean Schneider, Harrison B. Smith, Motohide Tamura, Daniel Angerhausen, Giada Arney, Vladimir S. Airapetian, Natalie M.Batalha, Charles S. Cockell, Leroy Cronin, Russell Deitrick, Anthony Del Genio, Theresa Fisher, Dawn M. Gelino, J. Lee Grenfell, Hilairy E. Hartnett, Siddharth Hegde, Yasunori Hori, Betül Kaçar, Joshua Krissansen-Totten, Timothy Lyons, William B. Moore, Norio Narita, Stephanie L. Olson, Heike Rauer, Tyler D. Robinson, Sarah Rugheimer, Nick Siegler, Evgenya L. Shkolnik, Karl R. Stapelfeldt, Sara Walker
(Submitted on 20 Jan 2018)

Comments: This is a white paper that was submitted to the National Academies of Sciences Study: Astrobiology Science Strategy for the Search for Life in the Universe
Subjects: Earth and Planetary Astrophysics (astro-ph.EP)
Cite as: arXiv:1801.06714 [astro-ph.EP] (or arXiv:1801.06714v1 [astro-ph.EP] for this version)
Submission history
From: Shawn Domagal-Goldman
[v1] Sat, 20 Jan 2018 18:53:00 GMT (1250kb)
https://arxiv.org/abs/1801.06714
Astrobiology

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