A NExSS and Astrobiology Joint Workshop
Pre-workshop online activities to commence: mid-April, 2016
Workshop Without Walls: July 27-29, 2016 in Seattle, WA and online via Adobe Connect
We would like to invite you to participate in online science discussions, and an ExoplanetBiosignatures Workshop Without Walls sponsored jointly by the Nexus for Exoplanet System Science (NExSS) and the NASA Astrobiology Program. The outputs from these coordinated efforts will include a report for the 16th Study Analysis Group (SAG 16) of the Exoplanet Exploration Program Analysis Group (ExoPAG). These activities will bring together scientists from diverse disciplines to review and advance the science and technology of remotely detectable signs of life on exoplanets.
There is a need for an updated review of exoplanet biosignatures. Over 10 years have passed since the last major community review on the topic (Des Marais et al., 2002). Since then, novel biosignatures have been proposed. Additionally, concepts have been developed that can help provide context for existing biosignatures, or help identify new ones. Recently, NASA formed Science and Technology Definition Teams (STDTs) for two strategic missions (LUVOIR and HabEx) that will explore how to search for signs of habitability and life on exoplanets.
The goals for the workshop and online meetings are to: 1) review prior work identifying biosignatures for life on exoplanets; 2) formulate conceptual frameworks that could be used to advance the science and to identify new biosignatures; and 3) develop a paradigm informed by both scientists and technologists to establish confidence standards for biosignature detection.
This effort will begin with a review of the ‘state of the science’ of exoplanet biosignatures via bi-weekly videoconferences that will begin in mid-April. This review will provide time-critical inputs to the ongoing STDTs, and the background needed to facilitate discussions at a workshop that will be held from July 27-29 in Seattle, WA. The workshop will focus on advancing the science of exoplanet biosignatures, and will include both in-person and remote participation. After the workshop, online meetings will continue to draft the SAG 16 report.
Because biosignature characterization is such an interdisciplinary endeavor, this workshop will be a community activity that will involve astronomers, planetary scientists, atmospheric scientists, Earth system scientists, biogeochemists, biologists, mission designers, and more.
If you are interested in participating in this endeavor, we ask that you fill out the survey on our website: http://nai.nasa.gov/calendar/workshop-without-walls-exoplanet-biosignatures/
Science Organizing Committee, NExSS/Astrobiology Program Biosignatures Workshop