In 2014, media artist Daniela de Paulis first presented at ASTRON in The Netherlands the possibility of radio-transmission of brain activity as part of her project ‘’COGITO in Space”, for which laboratory-grade EEG recordings are analyzed and converted to sound in real-time, using an open-source interstellar EEG-transmission protocol designed for the project by Guillaume Dumas and Michael Sanders and integrated in the EEGsynth fieldtrip software package. The 25m dish antenna of the Dwingeloo radio telescope in The Netherlands instantly transmits this audio-stream into space while the participant’s brain activity is recorded. The antenna uses amateur radio equipment, with a SingleSideBand (SSB) 120W power transmission with a fixed dish position. By spreading transmissions over the sky chances of possible detection by an alien civilization are limited. One of the challenges of the project was the real-time conversion of 32-channel EEG into a mono 3kHz audio signal for a linear SSB modulated radio transmission, including the 3D electrode positions that would allow the reconstruction of the cortical activity and topography by a hypothetical receiver.
In this work we show that modern data-driven machine learning techniques can be successfully applied on lunar surface remote sensing data to learn, in an unsupervised way, sufficiently good representations of the data distribution to enable lunar technosignature and anomaly detection. In particular we have trained an unsupervised distribution learning model to find the landing module of the Apollo 15 landing site in a testing dataset, with no specific model or hyperparameter tuning .
This is a network analysis approach to locate potential technosignatures in space. In the approach, nodes represent exoplanet host stars (host stars as a proxy for exoplanet locations when working with interstellar distances), while edges or connections represent hypothetical ET navigation/communication pathways between the nodes. The approach is flexible whereby it can apply to either non-radio or radio technosigntures. A customizable network fitting algorithm is used to determine the network topology. The data source is the NASA Exoplanet Archive, and the software program used to perform the analysis is a Python software package known as a Point Processing Toolkit or “pptk”, which is useful for visualizing 2D and 3D points. Prospective contributions to the field include narrowed down locations of potential technosignatures in space for mission or project design (e.g., involving the James Webb Space Telescope, TESS…), and operationalization of the Drake Equation in regard to the equation’s term pertaining to the fraction of planets that develop intelligent life.
We seek to model the coupled evolution of a planet and a civilization through the era when energy harvesting by the civilization drives the planet into new and adverse climate states. In this way we ask if “anthropocenes” of the kind humanity is experiencing might be a generic feature of planet-civilization evolution. In this study we focus on the effects of energy harvesting via combustion and vary the planet’s initial chemistry and orbital radius.
Exoplanets exhibit properties suggestive of a diversity of worlds far exceeding that observed within our own solar system. This diversity, combined with limited data, poses challenges for future exoplanet characterization, especially regarding life detection: not only is the diversity planets unprecedented, but the low resolution and s/n data available to current and near-future technology demand we improve our ability to infer properties of planetary atmospheres, surfaces and potential signs of life from very little data. For this reason, recent consensus recommendations from both within the exoplanet science community, and without, are directing the field to move from searching from specific products of life to developing probabilistic frameworks for inferring the presence of life that encompass entire planetary systems. Here, we demonstrate a new framework based on statistical characterization of planetary atmospheric chemistries with the goal to provide the quantitative tools required by this approach. We validate these tools against current observational constraints available for Jovian worlds by constructing chemical reaction networks (CRNs) from the atmospheres of hot jupiters simulated over a wide range of temperatures and metallicities using VULCAN. For each model, we calculated measures of the CRN topology and more traditional measures of disequilbrium. To model the uncertainty in observations, these properties were then used as the basis for an interpolation function, which was then fed a series of 10,000 point Gaussian distributions of possible initial conditions to simulate the likelihood distribution of possible atmospheric models centered around a specific observable such as T or metallicity. We present results demonstrating how our multivariate, statistical approach permits quantifying distance from disequilibrium in Jovian atmospheres. We discuss implications for inferring the presence of life as a driver of atmospheric disequilibrium on terrestrial worlds, and how technologically produced molecules could influence CRN topology.
Our conventional SETI endeavors have focused on detecting artificial signs with communication techniques that are in everyday use in our present state of technical culture. These include the use of electromagnetic waves, i.e. radio, laser, and visible light communication techniques. What would be the most extreme (on a planetary scale) ways of showing one’s existence over the vast distances and hiding structures (i.e. interstellar clouds, star clusters etc.)? Could ETI use e.g. neutrino transmission, or high energy peaks to overcome the difficulties the conventional techniques have? This paper will review some of the extreme, but feasible channels that could be incorporate into SETI from advanced particle and astrophysics.
The concept of “technosignatures” has been defined within the encompassing endeavor of searching for life beyond Earth as “evidence of some technology that modifies its environment in ways that are detectable”. This poster proposes the application of insights from the study of anticipation to the Search for Technosignatures, in order to proactively facilitate the development of this scientific field. Anticipation is the third level of Futures Studies that has been described as “a process through which the present is transformed, intervened in and ultimately governed in the name of the future”. This poster presents two ways in which the study of Anticipation in the Search for Technosignatures could be beneficial to its course.
Technosignatures involves the detection of radio signals, lasers, atmospheric pollution, radiation leakage from megastructures or sidereal installations such as Dyson spheres, Shkadov thrusters with the power to alter the orbits of stars around the Galactic Centre, etc. Some authors have postulated the possibility of previous ancient civilizations indigenous to our solar system having left behind some techno-signatures that we might find. However, if we look for these techno-signatures, artificial structures or signs, our minds can easily become confused when confronted with the unexpected. In recent times we had news about several events that made us question its possible extraterrestrial intelligent origin: The Tabby star anomaly, Oumuamua object and the 16 days periodic radio patterns detected by CHIME/FRB. Facts open to interpretation, our brain interpretation. The question is whether our minds are ready and capable of finding and understanding such techno-signatures, or whether we need to wait for our consciousness to be able to apprehend and comprehend these features. Could we get some help from artificial intelligence (AI)?
The search for spectroscopic biosignatures with the next-generation of space telescopes could provide observational constraints on the abundance of exoplanets with signs of life. An extension of this spectroscopic characterization of exoplanets is the search for observational evidence of technology, known as technosignatures. Searching for technosignatures alongside biosignatures would provide important knowledge about the future of our civilization. If planets with technosignatures are abundant, then we can increase our confidence that the hardest step in planetary evolution---the Great Filter---is probably in our past. But if we find that life is commonplace while technosignatures are absent, then this would increase the likelihood that the Great Filter awaits to challenge us in the future.
Millisecond Pulsars (MSPs) are likely to be or to become a timing, navigation, and metadata communication standard across the galaxy. Regarding timing, they provide a parallel clock to terrestrial ones, are based on macroscopic neutron stars behavior instead of quantum processes, and they will remain ticking longer than any clock we can construct on Earth. Regarding navigation, X-ray MSPs provide all the necessary ingredients for a Pulsar Positioning System that has many similarities with GPS. In astronautics, X-ray pulsar-based navigation (XNAV) uses a time-of-arrival navigation method comparable to GPS, accurate down to about 100 meters. Regarding metadata communication, MSPs would be a natural metadata coding choice for any galactic communication effort. On Earth, any letter or email contains metadata information about where it comes from, where it goes, and when it was written. We can expect that similar conventions exist for any potential galactic communication. Most messages are likely to be galacto-tagged and pulsar-time-stamped by reference to MSPs. This simple remark opens a simplified SETI search. Given any suspicious message we want to decode, the first step becomes to attempt to decode not the message itself, but its metadata (Vidal 2017). GPS is a technological breakthrough that enables many others: one needs only to think about all the location-based services (LBS) that it has unlocked in our modern societies. The realm of potential galactic LBS is an area totally unexplored, and may well be a key to find technosignatures of many kinds. Is GPS a technology? The answer is an obvious yes. Now imagine that we would find around an exoplanet’s orbit well-distributed timekeeping devices with an accuracy comparable with atomic clocks, beaming timing information that can be used as a positioning system, just like GPS. Would not we be compelled to check if it is a technosignature? This is exactly the current situation with MSPs, but on a galactic scale. This is why I have proposed ways to test whether the pulsar positioning system is actually an instance of galactic engineering (Vidal 2019). Seeking such a galactic technosignature proof is actually searching for a distributed signal, instead of searching for a localized signal around one particular star or planet. If the search program succeeds, it would lead to the discovery of extraterrestrial intelligence, through their engineered timing and navigation system. References: Vidal, C. 2017. “Millisecond Pulsars as Standards: Timing, Positioning and Communication.” Proceedings of the International Astronomical Union 13 (S337): 418–19. doi:10.1017/S1743921317008596. https://arxiv.org/abs/1711.06036. (where this poster was first presented) Vidal, C. 2019. “Pulsar Positioning System: A Quest for Evidence of Extraterrestrial Engineering.” International Journal of Astrobiology 18 (3): 213–34. doi:10.1017/S147355041700043X. https://arxiv.org/abs/1704.03316.
We present the quantifiable limits of observation of artificial megastructures within TESS data. We characterize observability using a ratio of the in-transit RMS residuals and the out-of-transit RMS residuals. We measure a percent difference in circularity (a non-circularity index) by summing the artificial object’s pixels that do not fall within the pixel area of the planet. We have determined an observability threshold using our observability index to be O = 3. At this threshold, given simulated standard TESS noise (gaussian with a zero mean and standard deviation dependent upon the individual star’s TESS magnitude), we quantity the non-circularity of an artificial object in order to be observable.
One of the biggest difficulties of defining technosignatures is to think about how to accurately distinguish biosignatures and technosignatures. In order to distinguish them, we need to further advance our understanding of what biology and technology are fundamentally doing. In this work, we introduce big data approaches to statistically investigate universal patterns within all biological life on Earth. We measure chemical complexity produced by life and investigate how universal or different biology is. Revealing universality of biology can help clarify the properties unique to biological life and help distinguish technosignatures from biosignatures.
LIFE is a project initiated in 2017 and officially kicked-off in 2018 to develop the science, technology and a roadmap for an ambitious space mission that will allow humankind for the first time to detect and characterize the atmospheres of dozens of warm, terrestrial extrasolar planets. We show how LIFE can be used for bio- and technosignature detection in statistically significant numbers that can be used to constrain the factors of the Drake equation such as the fraction of habitable planets on which life actually appears.
The most observable leakage radiation from an advanced civilization may well be from the use of power beaming to transfer energy and accelerate spacecraft. Applications suggested for power beaming involve Earth–to-space applications such as launching spacecraft to orbit, raising satellites to a higher orbit, and interplanetary concepts involving space–to–space transfers of cargo or passengers. We also quantify beam-driven launch to the outer solar system, interstellar precursors and ultimately starships. We estimate the principal observable parameters of power beaming leakage. Such beams would be visible over large interstellar distances. This implies a new approach to the SETI search: Instead of focusing on narrowband beacon transmissions generated by another civilization, look for more powerful beams with much wider bandwidth This requires a new approach for their discovery by telescopes on Earth. Further studies of power beaming applications should be done, which could broaden the parameter space of observable features we have discussed here. By observing leakage from power beams we may well find a message embedded on the beam.
Our ability to detect extraterrestrial life may be impeded by both: our level of technology and actively prevented by those we want to observe. To overcome this barrier we must be able to probe further into interstellar space. We discuss the issue while making analogies to isolated tribes on Earth and how we may be the isolated tribes of the galaxy until we can travel out into space.
One approach to a search for the artifacts within the Solar system is to look for the objects (e.g., probes, defunct or active) with anomalous orbits that are significantly different from those of the asteroids. To this effect, we used the data on the orbital parameters of 524,214 asteroids from AstDys-2. Approximately 24% of the asteroids belong to the known families in the orbital parameter space. The unclassified ones are labeled as the ‘background’, produced mainly by the dynamical scattering in the course of the evolution of the solar system. We apply Machine Learning tools to identify objectively defined outliers in the feature space of orbital parameters. Various techniques can be used for this task, including DBSCAN, which use distance measures, and Isolation Forest, which use decision trees, and many others.
Working in experimental quantum optics with focus on instrumentation for temporal intensity interferometry. Have successfully measured and resolved the temporal photon bunching effect from Sunlight in Singapore despite the tropical, humid, and urban environment. Our lab measurements have successfully identified the presence of coherent laser light even when embedded in a blackbody radiation background. Measurements also differentiated coherent laser light from thermal light that are both narrowband emission lines which could otherwise be mis-identified.