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Proceedings Paper

Strategies for SETI target selection
Author(s): David W. Latham; David R. Soderblom
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Paper Abstract

The NASA High Resolution Microwave Survey consists of two complementary elements: a Sky Survey of the entire sky to a moderate level of sensitivity; and a Targeted Search of nearby stars, one at a time, to a much deeper level of sensitivity. In this paper we present a strategy for target selection and observing. The strategy has two goals: to improve the chances of successful detection of signals from technical civilizations that inhabit planets around solar- type stars, and to minimize the chances of missing signals from unexpected sites. For the main Targeted Search survey of approximately 1000 nearby solar-type stars, we argue that the selection criteria should be heavily biased by what we know about the origin and evolution of life here on earth. We propose that observations of stars with stellar companions orbiting near the habitable zone should be de-emphasized, because such companions would prevent the formation of habitable planets. We also propose that observations of stars younger than about three billion years should be de-emphasized in favor of older stars, because our own technical civilization took longer than three billion years to evolve here on earth.

Paper Details

Date Published: 6 August 1993
PDF: 8 pages
Proc. SPIE 1867, The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in the Optical Spectrum, (6 August 1993); doi: 10.1117/12.150125
Show Author Affiliations
David W. Latham, Harvard-Smithsonian Ctr. for Astrophysics (United States)
David R. Soderblom, Space Telescope Science Institute (United States)

Published in SPIE Proceedings Vol. 1867:
The Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) in the Optical Spectrum
Stuart A. Kingsley, Editor(s)

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