NASA Technosignatures Workshop

NASA Technosignatures Workshop

The NASA Technosignatures Workshop was held at the Lunar and Planetary Institute in Houston, Texas, from September 25–28, 2018. This workshop was commissioned by the Astrophysics Division at NASA HQ to better understand the Technosignature field.

In addition to the 51 in-person attendees, the workshop had approximately 40 scientists participate via Adobe Connect, and more than 4000 people watched the workshop live on NASA TV. There was also a Reddit AMA (Ask Me Anything) event connected to this workshop. Five scientists attending the meeting electronically answered as many of the hundreds of questions from the public as possible over a one-hour time period.

The three-and-a-half-day workshop covered the background and the current state of the field. Presentations included, but were not limited to, topics on types of technosignatures, radio search for extraterrestial intelligence (SETI), solar system SETI, megastructures, data mining, and near-infrared optical (NIRO) searches. Speakers were also chosen from the principal investigators who submitted responses to the NASA HQ Request for Information on partnering with NASA to enable technosignature searches.

The workshop allotted long coffee breaks and lunches to encourage time for discussion. It also had several hours of discussion on the last morning to address questions from the attendees or topics not explicitly covered by other presentations at the workshop. As a result of language inserted into the current House Appropriations Bill, the output for the workshop is a report to NASA, due in late November, educating the agency on the state of the Technosignature field and on potential partnerships with private and philanthropic entities. The workshop spent the final afternoon with breakout groups to begin writing this report.

For more information, including links to the agenda and videos of the presentations, visit the meeting website at

— Submitted by Dawn M. Gelino, NASA Exoplanet Science Institute