ELSI Seminar

Prof. Jean-Luc Margot, UCLA
March 25, 2019
11:00 - 12:00

Mishima Hall

The UCLA Radio Search for Technosignatures


Observations with the NASA Kepler telescope have shown that there are billions of habitable worlds in our Galaxy. The profusion of planets, coupled with the abundance of life's building blocks in the universe, suggests that life itself may be abundant. Currently, the two primary strategies for the search for life in the universe are (1) searching for biosignatures in the Solar System or around nearby stars and (2) searching for technosignatures emitted from sources in the Galaxy and beyond. Given our present knowledge of astrobiology, there is no compelling reason to believe that one strategy is more likely to succeed than the other. The volume of the Galaxy that can be sampled with a radio search for technosignatures is millions of times larger than the relatively small, local bubble conducive to the search for biosignatures. Since 2016, our research group has been conducting a search for technosignatures from planetary systems with the largest fully steerable telescope on Earth. I present the results of our search for narrowband signals in this many-terabytes data set. I also discuss sensitivity limits and issues that arise when quantifying upper limits in the radio search for technosignatures.