The astrobiology of the anthropocene
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Human influence on the biosphere has been evident at least since the development of widespread agriculture, and some stratigraphers have suggested that the activities of modern civilization indicate a geological epoch transition. The study of the anthropocene as a geological epoch, and its implication for the future of energy-intensive civilizations, is an emerging transdisciplinary field in which astrobiology can play a leading role. Habitability research of Earth, Mars, and exoplanets examines extreme cases relevant for understanding climate change as a planetary process. Energy-intensive civilizations will also face thermodynamic limits to growth, which provides an important constraint for estimating the longevity of human civilization and guiding the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. We recommend that missions concepts such as LUVOIR, HabEx, and OST be pursued in order to make significant progress toward understanding the future evolution of life on our planet and the possible evolution of technological, energy-intensive life elsewhere in the universe.
Haqq-Misra , J , Som , S , Mullan , B , Loureiro , R , Schwieterman , E , Seyler , L , Mogosanu , H , Frank , A , Wolf , E , Forgan , D , Cockell , C & Sullivan , W 2018 ' The astrobiology of the anthropocene ' .
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Copyright 2017 the Authors.
A white paper on "Astrobiology Science Strategy" submitted to the National Academy of Sciences.
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