If LIFE follows a reflected light direct imaging mission, then you’ll know where the habitable planet candidates are. So do you really need to do the 2.5 year initial detection survey? Can’t you just proceed directly to spectroscopy?

Indeed, if a sufficiently large target sample is known that allows LIFE to fulfil (most of its) scientific objectives, the search phase could be shortened or completely skipped. However, at the moment, we need to be prepared to first invest some time in detecting the most promising targets.

What else is LIFE sensitive to? Disks, dust, grains etc all too cold? Are planets the only thing to be observed with LIFE or not? What about hot accretion disks?

We have an “Other Science” working group currently in the process of exploring this. From previous studies it is known that there can be compelling science cases for circumstellar disks and star formation, active galactic nuclei (AGN), and evolved stars. It has to be kept in mind, though, that the exoplanet science case will drive … Continued