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What is Life?

We know that small, rocky exoplanets are ubiquitous in the Milky Way and also in the immediate Solar neighbourhood. LIFE was officially kicked-off in 2018 with the goal to develop the science, the technology and a roadmap for an ambitious space mission that will allow humankind to detect and characterize the atmospheres of hundreds of nearby extrasolar planets including dozens that are similar to Earth. In 2021, the science of the LIFE mission – the characterization of temperate, terrestrial exoplanets and searching for life outside the Solar System – was identified as a top-priority theme by a Senior Committee advising the Science Director of the European Space Agency (ESA) and is now considered as a potential topic for a Large Mission in ESA’s future Science Programme.

LIFE will allow us to empirically assess our place amongst our neighbours in this vast Cosmos.

Venus-like
Mars-like
Earth-like

Characterizing Exoplanets

LIFE will be able to extract distinct exoplanet biosignatures, showing whether their atmosphere contains elements that match the presence of biological activity.

Venus-like carbon values Mars-like carbon values Earth-like carbon values