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 obtain thermal emission spectra with sufficient spectral resolution, wavelength coverage and sensitivity** to investigate at least 30 (requirement) / 50 (goal) extrasolar planets with radii between 0.5 and 1.5 Earth radii and receiving between 0.35 and 1.7 times the insolation of the Earth in order to assess their habitability and search for biomarkers. The sample shall be roughly equally split between planets orbiting late K to early M-type stars and planets orbiting late F to early K-type stars.


* As the project progresses in the concept phase and our understanding of exoplanet atmospheres and habitability increases we cannot exclude that the Science Objectives might undergo slight modifications.

** All these parameters need to be quantified during the concept phase.