Deciphering Spectral Fingerprints of Biomarkers on Exo-Earths
Lisa Kaltenegger (Harvard-Smithsonian CfA)
In this talk we discuss how we can read a planet’s spectrum to assess its habitability. What can we look for in a spectral fingerprint of Earth and super-Earths that can indicate life? In this talk we explore biomarkers on rocky planets, at different wavelengths, geological epochs, different biota, and their detectability. To search for signs of life we need to set the planet’s atmosphere in context with the observable features. The detection and of Earth-like planets is approaching rapidly and ground as well as space based telescopes to characterization them, are already in development phase (ELT, TNT, GMT, James Webb Space Telescope, Darwin, TPF, NWO). We will assess their effectiveness and the best observation strategy to search for the signatures of a biosphere.