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The astrobiology of the anthropocene

Research output: ResearchWorking paper


Jacob Haqq-Misra, Sanjoy Som, Brendan Mullan, Rafael Loureiro, Edward Schwieterman, Lauren Seyler, Haritina Mogosanu, Adam Frank, Eric Wolf, Duncan Forgan, Charles Cockell, Woodruff Sullivan

School/Research organisations


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.


Original languageEnglish
Number of pages9
StatePublished - 7 Jan 2018

    Research areas

  • Astrophysics - Earth and planetary astrophysics, Astrophysics - instrumentation and methods for Astrophysics, Physics - popular physics, Physics - physics and society

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ID: 252130675