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Searching for Solar System Technosignatures with Rubin/LSST

Presentation #404.02 in the session Asteroids: Observational Surveys (Poster + Lightning Talk)

Published onOct 23, 2023
Searching for Solar System Technosignatures with Rubin/LSST

The Legacy Survey of Space at Time (LSST) at the Vera C. Rubin Observatory starting in mid-2025 will provide deep, high cadence, multiband observations of the entire southern sky, which will revolutionize our ability to discover, track, and characterize objects in the solar system. This provides an opportunity to conduct the first thorough search of the Solar System for extraterrestrial technology. Such technology might be identified through many means, including: unnatural non-gravitational accelerations due to solar radiation pressure or propulsion; unusual colors; or special or unstable orbits. Importantly, asteroids and comets with anomalous properties in these dimensions are inherently interesting and worthy of study regardless of their true nature, so searches for them will yield important natural science insights, such as a better understanding of “dark comets.” After several years of operation, Rubin/LSST will provide the first robust upper limits on certain classes of extraterrestrial objects in interplanetary space, and numerous opportunities for discovery of novel phenomena. To achieve this, technosignature researchers will need to work closely with planetary astronomers, especially the LSST Solar System Science Collaboration, to develop the data analysis methods needed to flag and monitor anomalous minor bodies as they are studied by Rubin/LSST.

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