Cradle of Life

This working group addresses the ‘Cradle of Life’ comprising topics such as the formation of planets in disk systems around young stars, SETI, exoplanets and complex molecules. For other topics related to science within the Milky Way, please visit the science working group ‘Our Galaxy’.

Cradle of Life Working Group Introduction

This working group aims to understand how the SKA can be used to uncover the ‘Cradle of Life’ across the formation and evolution of stars & planets.  The higher frequencies covered by SKA will enable observations of the earliest stages of the raw material for planet formation, and also allow deep searches for prebiotic molecules (such as amino acids) both within and beyond our solar system.  The lowest frequencies can be used to detect and characterise magnetic fields around exoplanets via auroral radio emission.  Across the full frequency range, SKA will also carry out systematic, volume-limited searches of exoplanet systems for signals from technologically advanced civilisations.  These high impact research areas will answer some of the most fundamental questions in modern astronomy.

SWG Banner - Cradle of life

CoL Working Group Documentation

The CoL banner is here (High resolution PDF)

The CoL presentations from the 2014 SKA Science Meeting can be found here.

Relevant chapters in the 2015 SKA Science book “Advancing Astrophysics with the SKA” can be found here.

CoL Webinars

2021 November: Solar System science with the SKA D. Bockelée-Morvan (Obs. Paris, CNRS); P. Santos-Sanz (Instituto de Astrofí­sica de Andalucí­a); P. Zarka (Obs. Paris, CNRS, Nançay Radio Observatory) Recording

2021 October: Planet-forming disks in the era of ALMA Laura Pérez (Universidad de Chile, Chile) Recording

2021 September: Radio observations as a tool to unveil star-planet interaction in M-dwarfs Miguel Perez-Torres (Instituto de Astrofisica de Andalucia, Spain) Recording

2021 June: Observing planetary auroral radio emission Jake Turner (Cornell University, USA) Recording

2021 May: Breakthrough Listen MeerKAT SETI search Cherry Ng (University of Toronto, Canada) Recording

2021 April: Observing protoplanetary disks with the SKA John Ilee (University of Leeds, UK) Recording

2021 February: Radio stars and exoplanets at low-frequencies Joe Callingham (Leiden University, The Netherlands) Recording | Slides

2021 January: From protostellar disks to planetary atmospheres with SKA: Back to cm-wavelengths with new perspective Claudio Codella (Osservatorio Astrofisico di Arcetri – INAF, Firenze, Italy) Recording

CoL Science Assessment Workshop 

Workshop presentations (November 2013) can be found here

Related 2004 “Science with the Square Kilometre Array” Chapters

Published in New Astronomy Reviews, Volume 48, Issue 11-12

  • “The Cradle of Life” Lazio et al.
  • “The solar-stellar connection” White
  • “Star formation at high angular resolution” Hoare
  • “Late stages of stellar evolution” Marvel
  • “Imaging protoplanetary disks with the square kilometre array” Wilner
  • “Microarcsec astrometry using the SKA” Fomalont & Reid
  • “Solar system science with the SKA” Butler et al.
  • “Astrobiology and SETI” Tarter

Working Group Membership

Members of the the CoL Working Group can be found here

We actively encourage interested researchers to participate in the working group.

Please contact the co-chairs if you are interested in joining the group, with a brief description of your area of research.

The current co-chairs are:

Guidelines on who can join the group can be found here

Previous Chairs

  • Laurent Lamy 2020-2022
  • Josep Miguel Girart 2020-2022
  • Izaskun Jimenez-Serra 2017-2020
  • Doug Johnstone 2017-2020
  • Andrew Siemion 2015-2017
  • Di Li 2015-2017
  • Melvin Hoare 2013-2015
Last modified on 08 March 2023