Monday, July 4, 2016

How to Identify Civilizations Trying to Repair Their Planet's Environment

SET-E: The Search for Extraterrestrial Environmentalism


Montet et al


There is currently no evidence for life on any known exoplanet. Here, we propose a form of "galactic anthropology" to detect not only the existence of life on transiting exoplanets, but also the existence of environmentalism movements. By observing the planet's atmosphere over long time baselines, the destruction and recovery of a hole in an exoplanet's ozone layer may be observable. While not readily detectable for any one system with JWST, by binning together observations of hundreds of systems we can finally determine the occurrence rate of environmental movements on Earthlike planets in the galaxy, a number we term eta-Green-Earth.

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