...in ocean sediment ...the Anthropocene will likely only appear as a section a few cm thick....
Conceivably, deep drilling operations could be carried out on [Venus or Mars in the] future to assess their geological history. This would constrain consideration of what the fingerprint might be of life, and even organized civilization.
While we strongly doubt that any previous industrial civilization existed [on Earth] before our own, asking the question in a formal way that articulates explicitly what evidence for such a civilization might look like raises its own useful questions related both to astrobiology and to Anthropocene studies.
The Silurian Hypothesis: Would it be possible to detect an industrial civilization in the geological record? by Gavin A. Schmidt and Adam Frank, arXiv:1804.03748 [astro-ph.EP], online 10 Apr 2018.
It would be easy, therefore, to miss an industrial civilization that only lasted 100,000 years—which would be 500 times longer than our industrial civilization has made it so far.
Was There a Civilization On Earth Before Humans? by Adam Frank, The Atlantic, 13 Apr 2018. Thanks, Nature Briefing, Bob Sweeney, George Nickas and Stumble Upon.
Civilization Before Homo Sapiens?, commentary by Paul Gilster, Centauri Dreams, 18 Apr 2018.
How Would We Know...?, commentary by Charles Q. Choi, LiveScience, 18 Apr 2018.
Discovery of a hypersaline subglacial lake complex beneath Devon Ice Cap, Canadian Arctic by Anja Rutishauser et al., Science Advances, 11 Apr 2018.
...the lakes may have been sealed off ...for up to 120,000 years.
Isolated lakes found beneath Canadian ice sheet by Mary Halton, BBC News, 12 Apr 2018. Thanks, Bob Sweeney.
Life on Europa, Other Moons, Other Planets? and Earth-analogs for those environments has related links.
Colonising the galaxy is hard. Why not send bacteria instead? The Economist, 12 Apr 2018.
Panspermia Asks New Questions mentions directed panspermia among other varieties.
A Hydrothermal-Sedimentary Context for the Origin of Life by F. Westall et al., Astrobiology, 01 Mar 2018. The RNA World... has background and links about Origin-of-Life theories. These no longer deal with the software problem. Even the hardware problem is sometimes set aside while a conducive environment is suggested, as by Westall et al.
Human Genome Search and New genetic programs... describe a research project to learn if most new human genes come from horizontal gene transfer (HGT). Since transposons are likely installed by viruses, we think Trizzino et al. support the HGT hypothesis. Viruses and Other Gene Transfer Mechanisms is the main related local webpage.