While LIFE can address a variety of fundamental questions in modern astrophysics, its design and implementation shall be driven by the following (preliminary*) Science Objectives:

 

"LIFE shall detect, around nearby FGKM main sequence stars, more than 300 extrasolar planets with radii <4 Earth radii in at least one broad band filter in the mid-infrared, and obtain thermal emission spectra, with sufficient spectral resolution and wavelength coverage to investigate the atmospheric composition, of at least 30 (=requirement; 50=goal) extrasolar planets with radii between 0.5 and 1.75 Earth radii receiving between 0.5 and 1.5 times the insolation of the Earth."

 

(*during the current concept phase we expect the Science Objectives to undergo modifications; some aspects need to be stated more precisely)