Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 – 23 September 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
Palacio de Congresos de Granada, Spain
18 September – 23 September 2022
EPSC Abstracts
Vol. 16, EPSC2022-1148, 2022
Europlanet Science Congress 2022
© Author(s) 2022. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Status and progress of the Large Interferometer For Exoplanets (LIFE) mission 

Daniel Angerhausen1,2, Eleonora Alei1,2, Sascha Quanz1,2, and The LIFE Initiative3
Daniel Angerhausen et al.
  • 1ETH Zürich
  • 2NCCR PlanetS
  • 3

Summary: The ESA Voyage 2050 Senior Committee [0] recommends that “launching a large mission enabling the characterisation of the atmosphere of temperate exoplanets in the mid-infrared should be a top priority for ESA within the Voyage 2050 timeframe.”  The Large Interferometer For Exoplanets (LIFE) mission concept is a project that addresses this science question. LIFE was initiated in Europe with the goal to consolidate all necessary efforts and define a realistic roadmap that will lead to the launch of a large, space-based MIR nulling interferometer. This mission should be able to investigate the atmospheric properties of a large sample of (primarily) terrestrial, temperate exoplanets. In this contribution we present a status report and new results from the LIFE Mission initiative.


Artist's impression of the LIFE concept.

The LIFE mission concept: 


LIFE is an ambitious space mission with unparalleled scientific capabilities optimised for the direct detection and atmospheric characterization of hundreds of exoplanets, dozens of which will be terrestrial, temperate and possibly hospitable to life as we know it [1,2,3]. As a formation-flying mid-infrared nulling interferometer, LIFE is located in L2 and consists of 4 collector spacecraft with 2 - 3.5 m apertures and a combiner spacecraft. The observing wavelength range is 4 - 17.5  μm  (requirement) / 3 - 20  μm (goal) and the required spectral resolution is 35 (req.) / 50 (goal). The total mission lifetime is 5-6 years (requirement) including a search phase (2.5 years), that will be used to detect hundreds of planets, and a characterization phase (up to 3.5 years) that will be used for a detailed investigation of atmospheric diversity and the search for biosignatures. Other science cases taking advantage of a mid-IR interferometer in space will be possible (up to 20%; tbc.).


New Results and Progress: 

Over the past two years, the LIFE community grew significantly into an initiative with more than 150 collaborators from all over the world. We will discuss present ]the current structure of teams and working groups. Furthermore, we will summarise a number of new science results and trade-off studies that have been carried out and present a short overview of ongoing and future activities. 

References:[0] [1] Quanz, S. P., Kammerer, J., Defrère, D., et al. 2018, Optical and Infrared Interferometry and Imaging VI, 10701,107011I. [2] Defrère, D., Léger, A., Absil, O., et al. 2018, Experimental Astronomy, 46, 543. [3] Quanz,S. P.,et al. 2019. , arXiv e-prints arXiv:1908.01316

How to cite: Angerhausen, D., Alei, E., Quanz, S., and LIFE Initiative, T.: Status and progress of the Large Interferometer For Exoplanets (LIFE) mission , Europlanet Science Congress 2022, Granada, Spain, 18–23 Sep 2022, EPSC2022-1148,, 2022.


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