Archaeology and direct imaging of exoplanets

Campbell, John B (2006) Archaeology and direct imaging of exoplanets. In: Aime, C., and Vakili, F., (eds.) Direct Imaging of Exoplanets: Science and Techniques. Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union (1). Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK, pp. 247-250.

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The search for extraterrestrial technology effectively began 45 years ago with Frank Drake's Project Ozma and a radioastronomy start to the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI). Eventually searches began for possible interstellar probes in stable orbits in the Solar System, as well as for infrared excesses from possible Dyson spheres round Sun-like stars. Whilst the Cold War was still underway, some scientists looked for evidence of nuclear waste dumps and nuclear wars elsewhere in the Milky Way. None of this work was carried out by archaeologists, even though by their very nature archaeologists are experts in the detection of ancient technologies. The technologies being searched for would have been partly ancient in age though advanced in techniques and science. The development of ESA's Darwin and NASA's TPF for detection and imaging of Earth-like exoplanets in our galactic neighbourhood represents an opportunity for the testing of techniques for detecting signatures of technological activities. Ideally, both Darwin and TPF might be able to provide spectroscopic data on the chemistry and biochemistry of the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets, and thus to detect some of the signs of life. If this can be accomplished successfully, then in theory evidence for pollution and nuclear accidents and wars should be detectable. Some infrared signatures of ETT on or round exoplanets might be detectable. Direct visual imaging of ETT structures will probably not be feasible till we have extremely powerful interstellar telescopes or actually send orbital craft.

Item ID: 1027
Item Type: Book Chapter (Research - B1)
ISBN: 978-0-52185-607-2
ISSN: 1743-9221
Keywords: search for extraterrestrial technology (SETT), exoplanets, archaeology, pollution, infrared
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Proceedings of the 200th Colloquium of the International Astronomical Union held in Villefranche sur Mer, France, October 3-7, 2005

Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2006
FoR Codes: 21 HISTORY AND ARCHAEOLOGY > 2101 Archaeology > 210102 Archaeological Science @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970102 Expanding Knowledge in the Physical Sciences @ 100%
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