Detecting Industrial Pollution in the Atmospheres of Earth-like Exoplanets
Lin, Henry W.
Abad, Gonzalo Gonzalez
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CitationLin, Henry W., Gonzalo Gonzalez Abad, and Abraham Loeb. 2014. “DETECTING INDUSTRIAL POLLUTION IN THE ATMOSPHERES OF EARTH-LIKE EXOPLANETS.” The Astrophysical Journal 792 (1): L7. https://doi.org/10.1088/2041-8205/792/1/l7.
AbstractDetecting biosignatures, such as molecular oxygen in combination with a reducing gas, in the atmospheres of transiting exoplanets has been a major focus in the search for alien life. We point out that in addition to these generic indicators, anthropogenic pollution could be used as a novel biosignature for intelligent life. To this end, we identify pollutants in the Earth's atmosphere that have significant absorption features in the spectral range covered by the James Webb Space Telescope. We focus on tetrafluoromethane (CF4) and trichlorofluoromethane (CCl3F), which are the easiest to detect chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) produced by anthropogenic activity. We estimate that similar to 1.2 days (similar to 1.7 days) of total integration time will be sufficient to detect or constrain the concentration of CCl3F (CF4) to similar to 10 times the current terrestrial level.
Citable link to this pagehttp://nrs.harvard.edu/urn-3:HUL.InstRepos:41412245
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