Exoplanet Biosignatures: Observational Prospects
Fujii et al
We provide an overview of the prospects for biosignature detection and general characterization of temperate Earth-sized planets. We review planned space-based missions and ground-based projects as well as the basic methods they will employ, and summarize which exoplanet properties will become observable as these new facilities come on line. The observational strategies depend on whether the planets are transiting or not as well as on the spectral type of the host star. There is a reasonable expectation that the first constraints on spectroscopic features of atmospheres will be obtained before 2030. Successful initial characterization of a few nearby targets will be an important touchstone toward a more detailed scrutiny and/or a larger survey to address statistical questions such as the occurrence rate of habitable environments. The broad outlook which this paper presents may help develop a framework to evaluate the possibility of biospheres based on the observables, and consider new methodologies to characterize exoplanets of astrobiological interest.