06/2021: ESA announced their choice for future L-class science mission themes and the detection and characterization of temperate
exoplanets is considered to be one of them! This is obviously exciting news for the LIFE initiative and an extra boost for our activities! The ESA press release can be found here and the full report from ESA's Senior Committee can be
03-04/2021: A number of virtual kick-off meetings were organized to define the various LIFE Teams and Working Groups. Check out
the current organisational structure here.
01/2021: LIFE Paper I entitled "Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE): I. Improved exoplanet detection yield estimates for a large
mid-infrared space-interferometer mission" was submitted to A&A! You can download the submitted version of the paper here.
12/2020: "LIFE workshop 3" was held online on Monday, November 30, and Tuesday, December 1, 2020. With more than 150
participants we achieved a new all-time high!
09/2020: Two LIFE related talks
were presented at EPSC 2020. Abstracts and links to the videos can be found here and here.
07/2020: LIFE was presented at the
NASA-sponsored interdisciplinary workshop Technoclimes. The conference contribution is posted here.
07/2020: LIFE was presented
at Exoplanets III. The slides can be found here and a video of the online talk here.
05/2020The next LIFE workshop (III) will be held in Liège, Belgium
from Monday November 30, 2020 (11 am) to Tuesday December 1, 2020 (5 pm). The registration can be found here.
04/2020: The "Virtual
Mini-Workshop: LIFE – Large Interferometer For Exoplanets" will introduce a larger audience to the LIFE concept and will be held fully online, on Thursday, 14 May 2020,
4.00–6.00 pm CEST. Registration is closed now.
03/2020: NICE (Nulling Interferometric Cryogenic Experiment for LIFE) was kicked off. The goal of NICE is to build a nulling testbed to promote
LIFE and to enhance technology readiness level of broadband nulling interferometry for LIFE and ground based nullers. More resources will be posted soon.
09/2019: LIFE was presented at the European Planetary Science
Congress (EPSC) 2019 in Geneva in the session on "Future instruments to detect and characterize extrasolar planets". The presentation can be dowloaded here.
The dates for the 2nd LIFE workshop are fixed: it will take place November 27./28, 2019, at ETH Zurich. More information will be posted
here in due time.
White Paper submitted! The LIFE team led the compilation of a paper in response to ESA's call for supporting the long-term planning
of the Science Programme (see below). The White Paper entitled "Atmospheric characterization of terrestrial exoplanets in the mid-infrared: biosignatures, habitability &
diversity" can be found here.
06/2019: The LIFE presentation shown at AbSciCon2019 is
04/2019:An abstract submitted by the LIFE team to give a talk at the
AbSciCon2019 conference was accepted! LIFE will be presented on June 25,
2019, in the session "Characterizing Exoplanet Habitability and Life with Future Observatories I"
03/2019: ESA issued a Call for White Papers in the VOYAGE
2050 long-term planning of the ESA Science Programme. The LIFE team started to prepare and coordinate a response to emphasize the scientific importance of the mid-infrared
wavelength regime to detect and characterize terrestrial exoplanet atmospheres.
03/2019: In the context of the US decadal survey that is carried out to help assess and prioritize future NASA space missions several
White Papers dealing with LIFE-related science and mission concepts were submitted. One such White Paper, led by Prof. Michael Line from Arizona State University, can be found here.
01/2019: LIFE workshop 1 successfully took place at DLR in Berlin/Adlershof. It was a great and very productive meeting that led to the
establishment of a clear project structure and a first set of milestones and action items. More to come soon... Thanks to all participants!
12/2018: A paper entitled "Space-based infrared interferometry to study exoplanet atmospheres" has
just been published by Experimental Astronomy (click here for the final version).
11/2018:A paper discussing the potential of several (future) instruments to directly detect young rocky planets undergoing a
post-impact magma ocean phase was accepted for publication in Astronomy & Astrophysics. LIFE was considered as one of the instruments.
The next LIFE workshop will take place January 23/24, 2019, at DLR in Berlin/Adlershof. A program will be announced in due time, but
the number of participants is limited. If you are interested in participating, please contact us.
The National Academy of Sciences published their "Exoplanet Science Strategy" report.
While the report puts a strong emphasis on future missions detecting planets in reflected light in a first step, mid-infrared interferometry is considered key in the
long-run. One of the finding states: "Technology development support in the next decade for future characterization concepts such as mid-infrared (MIR) interferometers [...] will be
needed to enable strategic exoplanet missions beyond 2040." Even more important is the following statement: "That said, the common (although often unspoken) belief is that such a
nulling, near-infrared (NIR) interferometer would be a necessary follow-up to any reflected light direct imaging mission, as detecting the exoplanet in thermal emission is not only
required to measure the temperature of the planet, but is also needed to measure its radius, and so (with an astrometric or radial velocity detection of [...] the mass of the planet)
measure its density and thus determine if it is truly terrestrial." In other words, without a mission like LIFE, confirming the true terrestrial nature of a large
sample of exoplanets will be impossible!
07/2018: LIFE was presented on a poster at the "Exoplanets 2" conference July 2-6, 2018, in Cambridge.
LIFE and related mission ideas were presented at the SPIE conference "Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation" in Austin/Texas,
June 10-15, 2018. This was the first time the acronym was officially introduced! LIFE generated a lot of excitement and a number of scientists and engineers expressed a strong
interest in such a mission concept.
Unfortunately the ISSI proposal was not selected for funding, but LIFE was strongly encouraged to re-submit in early 2019.
04/2018: LIFE was featured in a presentation at Caltech on the requirements for imaging and spectroscopy of habitable planets
03/2018: A proposal to install an ISSI International Team further developing the science of LIFE and assessing the status of key technologies was submitted.
01/2018: A new review paper by Defrere et al. about space-based interferometry for exoplanet science was submitted
to Experimental Astronomy. The submitted version can be found here.
09/2017: The science of LIFE was presented in a presentation at the European Planetary Science Congress held on September 17-22 in Riga, Latvia.