Additional Authors: Thayne Currie (NASA-Ames/Subaru Telescope), Johanna Teske (Carnegie Observatories), Eric Gaidos (U. of Hawaii), Eliza Kempton (U. of Maryland), Jared Males (U. of Arizona), Nikole Lewis (Cornell University), Sagi Ben-Ami (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Jayne Birkby (U. of Amsterdam, Netherlands), David Charbonneau (Harvard University), Laird Close (U. of Arizona), Mark Dickinson (NOAO), Jeff Crane (Carnegie Observatories), Courtney Dressing (U. of California Berkeley), Cynthia Froning (U. of Texas at Austin),Yasuhiro Hasegawa (NASA-JPL/Caltech), Quinn Konopacky (U. of California San Diego), Ravi K. Kopparapu (NASA-GSFC), Dimitri Mawet (California Institute of Technology),Bertrand Mennesson (Caltech/NASA-JPL), Benjamin Rackham (U. of Arizona), Ramses Ramirez(ELSI/Tokyo Institute of Technology), Deno Stelter (U. of California Santa Cruz), AndrewSzentgyorgyi (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Ji Wang (Ohio State University), Andrea Dupree (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Amit Levi (Smithsonian Astrophysical Observatory), Chima McGruder (Harvard University), Sarah Rugheimer (U. of Oxford, UK)
As we begin to discover rocky planets in the habitable zone of nearby stars with missions like TESS and CHEOPS, we will need quick advancements on instrumentation and observational techniques that will enable us to answer key science questions, such asWhat are the atmospheric characteristics of habitable zone rocky planets? How common are Earth-like biosignatures in rocky planets? How similar or dissimilar are those planets to Earth?The expectation for the next decade is that observations with JWST will probe the atmospheres of small planets in search forEarth-like biomarkers (i.e.H2O,CH4,O3,CO2, andO2), but these observations will be challenging even for a superb telescope like JWST. JWST will only be able to observe the atmospheres of a very small number of small planets, given the large amount of telescope time required and expected noise floor limits. In addition,O2will be very difficult to detect with JWST, since its most prominent absorption appears at visible wavelengths for which JWST is not optimized. We expect to have discovered several Earth-analog candidates within the next decade, but we will not have the tools to study the atmospheres of all of them in detail. Therefore, we make the following recommendations to the Astro2020 Decadal Survey Committee: Support (1) the search for Earth-like biosignatures on rocky planets around nearby stars as a key science case, (2) the construction over the next decade of ground-based Extremely Large Telescopes (ELTs), which will provide the large aperture and spatial resolution necessary to start revealing the atmospheres of Earth-analogsaround nearby stars, (3) the development of instrumentation that optimizes the detection of biosignatures, and (4) the generation of accurate line lists for potential biosignature gases, which are needed as model templates to detect those molecules.
Link to draft or additional information: https://www.overleaf.com/read/bzpwvprgnxyt.