Scientific Colloquium
April 12, 2023,  3:00 P.M.
Building 3, Goett Auditorium

"Escaping the Great Filter: The Future of Civilization and the Search for Technosignatures" 

Human civilization continues to experience rapid growth in energy consumption, while projections of population stabilization remain uncertain. Following the most optimistic scenarios based on available data, the continuation of this exponential use of energy would cause direct heating of the planet by ~2300 - also coinciding with our transition to a Kardashev type-I civilization. If our patterns of energy consumption are typical for other technological civilizations, then the lack of evidence for extraterrestrial life suggests that we may be among the first. This implies that a "Great Filter" may exist in our near future, which would mark a critical juncture of whether we become a spacefaring civilization or extinct. The search for technosignatures by ongoing SETI surveys and missions such as JWST and the next Great Observatories will provide a way to test the Great Filter hypothesis and examine the extent to which energy-intensive civilizations occur in the galaxy.

About the Speaker:

Jacob Haqq Misra is a senior research investigator at the Blue Marble Space Institute of Science. His research focuses on understanding the conditions that allow life to survive on Earth and the possibility of detecting signatures of biology or technology on other planets. He also studies the possible futures of life in the solar system and is the author of the book Sovereign Mars: Transforming Our Values through Space Settlement.

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