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Abscison 2015 in Chicago: Finding Habitable Worlds and Life Beyond the Solar System

11 Jul 2015, 20:16 UTC
Abscison 2015 in Chicago: Finding Habitable Worlds and Life Beyond the Solar System
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What could the near future hold for detecting habitable, and eventually inhabited, extrasolar planets?
Together with my colleagues Victoria Meadows, A. Mandell and Margaret Turnbull we organized a session for the Astrobiology Science Conference 2015 held at Chicago on June 15-19 entitled “Finding Habitable Worlds and Life Beyond the Solar System” to answer to this question. The goal of our session was to discuss the prospective in the near future to detect habitable extrasolar planets.
This session focused on the science and technology requirements for the next generation of observatories that will undertake the search for life beyond the solar system. Topics to covered in this session included signs of exoplanet habitability and global biosignatures that can be sought with upcoming instrumentation; instrument requirements and technologies to detect these markers; strategies for target selection and prioritization; and impacts of planetary system properties, telescope architecture, and instrument capabilities on the yield of potentially inhabited exoplanets. This session was also an opportunity to discuss longer term, visionary ideas for finding Earth 2.0 and even technological civilizations — potentially answering the question “Are we alone?” We had encouraged abstracts on space- and ground-based facilities and on concepts that can discover potentially habitable ...

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