The following is a list of recommendations for extending Optical SETI activity:
||Serious consideration should be given by SETI groups and NASA
as to the merits of Optical SETI.
||Assuming that the consensus in the community is that Optical
SETI has considerable merit, funding should be solicited from Congress to support Optical
SETI. This should not be at the expense of planned or on-going Microwave SETI programs.
||Initiate programs to determine what are the most likely
optical frequencies that extraterrestrials might choose for their transmissions.
||Consideration should be given as to whether it is possible to
develop adaptive optics to remove most atmospheric turbulence effects, so that
ground-based telescopes can be used to good effect within the atmosphere. If this
can be done, NASA should solicit proposals for the development of a generic visible
heterodyne front-end that can be mounted onto conventional large aperture telescopes, such
as the new Keck. It is possible that such adaptive arrays may lead to the detection
of extraterrestrial signals.
||NASA should also consider developing a special front-end to
be later retro-fitted to the Hubble Space Telescope, with a view to incorporating such
technology in much larger space telescopes to be deployed early next century. This
could be an ideal project for Space Station Freedom.
||As a separate development activity, NASA should also solicit
proposals to develop the equivalent technology for the infrared, for later deployment in
space on an infrared orbiting telescope. This development is much easier, since if
we assume operation at CO2 wavelengths, much of the technology has already been
produced for other purposes, e.g., infrared heterodyne astronomy and communications.
||NASA should solicit proposals for development of high-density
two- dimensional PIN photodetector arrays with extended blue response in support of
activities 4 & 5. These elements are must have small active diameters,
e.g., a few µm, and electrical bandwidths in excess of 10 GHz. Similar high-density
arrays should be developed for activity 6.
||NASA should consider the desirability for developing the
equivalent APD (Geiger-mode) photon-counting arrays, stirling engine cooling systems, and
very high Q incoherent tunable filters for the light sciences, e.g., extra- solar
||In support of the above activities, NASA should fund the
development of suitable local-oscillator lasers for use across the entire infrared and
||These developments should be coordinated with the light
sciences in order to realize the maximum scientific spin-off from these activities,
particularly in regard to detecting extraterrestrial planetary systems, their atmospheres,
and magnetic fields.
||The SETI community should use this "new" approach
to increase the public and Congressional awareness about SETI in general, and what it
could mean for mankind if we successfully detect signals. To this end, this material
may be copied and distributed, subject to the conditions in the Copyright Notice at the
front of each volume of this viewgraph report.
Copyright (c), 1996