AAS 207th Meeting, 8-12 January 2006
Session 137 Square Kilometer Array
Poster, Wednesday, 9:20am-6:30pm, January 11, 2006, Exhibit Hall

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[137.01] The Square Kilometer Array and The Cradle of Life

T. J. W. Lazio (NRL), J. C. Tarter (SETI Institute), D. Werthimer (UC Berkeley), D. J. Wilner (CfA)

The Square Kilometer Array (SKA) will be one of a suite of new, large telescopes for the Twenty-first Century probing fundamental physics, the origin and evolution of the Universe, the structure of the Milky Way Galaxy, and the formation and distribution of planets.

The emerging field of astrobiology is beginning to address one of the oldest questions in science and philosophy: Are we alone? By virtue of its sheer sensitivity, high frequency coverage, and long baselines, the SKA will play a pivotal role in astrobiological studies. It will be a unique instrument with the capability to image proto-planetary disks in nearby star-forming regions and monitor the evolution of structures within those disks (``movies of planetary formation''). It will be able to reach qualitatively new levels of sensitivity in the search for intelligence elsewhere in the Galaxy, including for the first time the realistic possibility of detecting unintentional emissions or ``leakage'' (such as from TV transmitters) from nearby stars. Finally, it will also be able to assess the extent to which interstellar molecules are incorporated into proto-planetary disks.

Basic research in radio astronomy at the NRL is supported by the Office of Naval Research.

The author(s) of this abstract have provided an email address for comments about the abstract: Joseph.Lazio@nrl.navy.mil

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