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LIFE at ETH Latsis Symposium “The Origin and Prevalence of Life”

“What is life? Where, when and how did life arise on Earth? What ingredients were likely present and how were they delivered to Earth?  Under what conditions is life possible and is life likely to exist on other planets or celestial bodies?” These and other questions are tackled by a group of world leading experts … Continued

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Paper IV of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication

Hansen et al. revisits the studies of configurations and architectures that were taken in the days of Darwin/TPF-I.

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Paper V of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication

In Alei et al. 2022, the fifth paper of the LIFE series (link to arXiv) we explore the potential of LIFE for characterizing emission spectra of Earth at various stages of its evolution. Assuming a distance of 10 pc and a Sun-like host star, we simulated observations obtained with LIFE on eight different scenarios, which … Continued

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Successful LIFE spring/summer meeting 2022

On June 8th the LIFE team assembled for its spring/summer 2022 all-hands meeting. The initiative was able to welcome a number of new members and energize the community with exciting news about the successful LIFE paper series or the launch of the new LIFE brand.

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LIFE at ETH Latsis Symposium “The Origin and Prevalence of Life”
August 31, 2022

“What is life? Where, when and how did life arise on Earth? What ingredients were likely present and how were they delivered to Earth?  Under what conditions is life possible and is life likely to exist on other planets or celestial bodies?” These and other questions are tackled by a group of world leading experts … Continued

Paper IV of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication
June 16, 2022

Hansen et al. revisits the studies of configurations and architectures that were taken in the days of Darwin/TPF-I.

Paper V of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication
June 14, 2022

In Alei et al. 2022, the fifth paper of the LIFE series (link to arXiv) we explore the potential of LIFE for characterizing emission spectra of Earth at various stages of its evolution. Assuming a distance of 10 pc and a Sun-like host star, we simulated observations obtained with LIFE on eight different scenarios, which … Continued

Successful LIFE spring/summer meeting 2022
June 9, 2022

On June 8th the LIFE team assembled for its spring/summer 2022 all-hands meeting. The initiative was able to welcome a number of new members and energize the community with exciting news about the successful LIFE paper series or the launch of the new LIFE brand.

LIFE team meets with colleagues at University of Maryland, NASA Goddard and STScI
May 14, 2022

On their trip between the Exoplanets 4 and the AbSciCon conferences, researchers from the LIFE initiatives met with colleagues on the US East Coast formeetings and presentations at the University of Maryland, the NASA Goddard Space Flight Center and the Space Telescope Science Institute.

LIFE presentations at NCCR PlanetS General Assembly
April 27, 2022

During the general assembly of the National Center of Competence in Research (NCCR) PlanetS in Grindelwald, Switzerland, LIFE team members Eleonora Alei and Björn Konrad presented their LIFE related research.

Paper I of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication
March 31, 2022

The first paper in the LIFE paper series was recently accepted for publication in A&A! Quanz et al. 2022 introduce the LIFE initiative and the motivation behind it and perform detection yield estimates for different scenarios and instrument parameters.

Paper III of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication in A&A
March 1, 2022

In Konrad et al. 2022, the LIFE team derived first constraints on the technical requirements for the LIFE telescope in wavelength coverage, spectral resolution, and signal-to-noise ratio.

Paper II of the LIFE paper series accepted for publication
March 1, 2022

In Dannert & Ottiger et al. 2022, the LIFE team describes the process of simulating a LIFE observation with the publicly available LIFEsim tool. We present our methods for signal simulation ( and the subsequent extraction of planets, finding that mid-IR nulling interferometry can indeed provide direct measurements of planetary radii, temperatures and astrometry.

ESA submitted White Paper published by Experimental Astronomy
September 1, 2021

The White Paper that we submitted to the ESA in the context of the Voyage 2050 process was published by “Experimental Astronomy”.

ESA announced their choice for future L-class science mission themes
June 1, 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!

Jens Kammerer presenting LIFE at STScI spring Symposium
April 4, 2021

Jens Kammerer is presenting a poster on behalf of the LIFE initiative at the STScI spring Symposium “Towards the Comprehensive Characterization of Exoplanets: Science at the Interface of Multiple Measurement Technique”

LIFE Teams and Working Groups defined
April 3, 2021

A number of virtual kick-off meetings were organized to define the various LIFE Teams and Working Groups.

LIFE Paper 1 submitted to A&A
January 1, 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!

150 participants join LIFE workshop III
December 1, 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! 

LIFE related talks presented at EPSC 2020
September 1, 2020

Two LIFE related talks were presented at EPSC 2020.

LIFE presented at NASA-sponsored Technoclimes
July 1, 2020

LIFE was presented at the NASA-sponsored interdisciplinary workshop Technoclimes.

LIFE presented at Exoplanets III
July 1, 2020

LIFE was presented at Exoplanets III.

LIFE workshop III
May 10, 2020

The 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.

200 participants joined the Virtual Mini-Workshop
May 9, 2020

The online “Virtual Mini-Workshop: LIFE – Large Interferometer For Exoplanets” on May 14 2020 attracted almost 200 participants.

LIFE presented at BlueSciCon
May 8, 2020

LIFE was presented at BlueSciCon 2020 of Blue Marble Space Institute of Science on May 8.

Virtual Mini-Workshop
April 1, 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.

NICE kick-off
March 1, 2020

NICE (Nulling Interferometric Cryogenic Experiment for LIFE) was kicked off.

LIFE presented at ESA/ESTEC
November 1, 2019

LIFE was presented at a “Workshop on Innovative Technologies for Space Optics” at ESA/ESTEC on November 4.

LIFE White Paper selected for presentation
October 1, 2019

The White Paper submitted to ESA in the context of the Voyage 2050 program was selected for presentation at the related ESA workshop in Madrid.

LIFE presented at EPSC 2019
September 1, 2019

LIFE was presented at the European Planetary Science Congress (EPSC) 2019 in Geneva.

LIFE at upcoming ESA workshop
September 1, 2019

LIFE will be presented at an upcoming workshop at ESA on “Innovative Technologies for Space Optics”. The talk is scheduled for the session on ultrastable onto-mechanical architectures.

Second LIFE workshop & White Paper submitted
August 1, 2019

The dates for the 2nd LIFE workshop are fixed and the LIFE team submits their White Paper in response to ESA’s call for supporting the long-term planning of the Science Programme.

Watch the LIFE presentation at AbSciCon2019
June 1, 2019

The LIFE presentation shown at AbSciCon2019 is available here.

LIFE abstract for AbSciCon2019 accepted
April 1, 2019

An abstract submitted by the LIFE team to give a talk at the AbSciCon2019 conference was accepted!

LIFE prepares for ESA issued ‘Call for White Papers’
March 1, 2019

ESA issued a Call for White Papers in the VOYAGE 2050 long-term planning of the ESA Science Programme.

Several LIFE-related white papers submitted
March 1, 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.

First LIFE workshop
January 1, 2019

LIFE workshop 1 successfully took place at DLR in Berlin/Adlershof.

Paper published by Experimental Astronomy
December 1, 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).

Paper accepted in A&A
November 1, 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 workshop and NAoS publication
September 1, 2018

The National Academy of Sciences published their “Exoplanet Science Strategy” report.

Papers from SPIE available
August 1, 2018

LIFE related papers from the SPIE conference are now available online. Please check out Quanz et al. (2018) and Defrere et al. (2018b).

LIFE presented at Cambridge
July 1, 2018

LIFE was presented on a poster at the “Exoplanets 2” conference July 2-6, 2018, in Cambridge.

LIFE presented at SPIE conference
June 1, 2018

LIFE and related mission ideas were presented at the SPIE conference “Astronomical Telescopes + Instrumentation” in Austin/Texas, June 10-15, 2018.

LIFE featured at Caltech
April 1, 2018

LIFE was featured in a presentation at Caltech on the requirements for imaging and spectroscopy of habitable planets

ISSI proposal
March 1, 2018

A proposal to install an ISSI International Team further developing the science of LIFE and assessing the status of key technologies was submitted.

New review paper
January 1, 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.

LIFE presentation in Riga
September 1, 2017

The science of LIFE was presented in a presentation at the European Planetary Science Congress held on September 17-22 in Riga, Latvia.

Life in the media

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Höhere Ziele erfordern grössere Raketen

[Der Bund, CH] Spacex-Chef Elon Musk hat eine Vision: Der Mensch soll den Mars besiedeln. Auf dem Weg dahin sind entsprechende Verkehrsmittel gefragt – eine Rakete etwa, die 100 Personen transportieren soll. Und auch die Nasa schmiedet Pläne.[…] Glauser erwähnt in diesem Zusammenhang das Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (Life), das an der ETH Zürich verfolgt wird.

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The Alien Hunter’s Playbook Is Getting a Cutting-Edge Rewrite

[Daily Beast] Using new instruments—including NASA’s $10-billion James Webb Space Telescope as well as the Large Interferometer for Exoplanets, a probe in development in Europe—it’s possible to survey the atmospheres of distant exoplanets far beyond our own solar system.

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What comes after the James Webb Space Telescope? Some astronomers want LIFE.

[Popular Science] The Large Interferometer for Exoplanets could chase new exoplanets and galaxies with a fleet of tools—if it ever gets off the ground.

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LIFE, Teknologi Canggih yang Kelak Mengungkap Lebih Banyak Ekstrasurya

[National Geographic, Indonesia] Kelak, interferometer nulling akan digunakan lewat LIFE, singkatan dari Large Interferometer for Exoplanets. Orang yang mengupayakannya terwujud adalah Sacha Quanz, astrofisikawan di Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Swiss.

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LIFE : ภารกิจอวกาศเพื่อค้นหาสิ่งมีชีวิตนอกระบบสุริยะที่จะปฏิวัติวิทยาศาสตร์ในอนาคต

[Pantip, Thailand] ด้วยภารกิจ “LIFE” (Large Interferometer For Exoplanets) แนวคิดเกี่ยวกับภารกิจอวกาศที่มีความทะเยอทะยานพร้อมความสามารถทางวิทยาศาสตร์ที่ไม่มีใครเทียบได้ ซึ่งจะได้รับการปรับให้เหมาะสมสำหรับการตรวจจับโดยตรง และการกำหนดลักษณะบรรยากาศของดาวเคราะห์นอกระบบหลายร้อยดวงได้ โดย LIFE ได้นำเสนอเทคโนโลยีใหม่สำหรับการตรวจจับดาวเคราะห์นอกระบบด้วย mid-IR interferometers แบบ Nulling Interferometer หลักการคือการสร้าง “จุดบอด” เสมือนจริงในตำแหน่งที่แน่นอนของแหล่งกำเนิดแสงที่เป็นดาวฤกษ์ เพื่อที่จะเปิดเผยแหล่งกำเนิดแสงที่สลัวกว่า ซึ่งเป็นดาวเคราะห์ที่โคจรรอบมัน

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Wie diese Schweizer Forscher Ausserirdische finden wollen

[Blick, CH] Alf, E.T. oder Independence Day – Aliens kennt jeder aus Filmen und Serien. Doch die Wissenschaft beschäftigt sich mittlerweile ganz ernsthaft damit, Spuren von ausserirdischem Leben auf fernen Planeten aufzuspüren – und Schweizer Forscher sind vorne mit dabei.

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Höhere Ziele erfordern grössere Raketen

[Der Bund, CH] Spacex-Chef Elon Musk hat eine Vision: Der Mensch soll den Mars besiedeln. Auf dem Weg dahin sind entsprechende Verkehrsmittel gefragt – eine Rakete etwa, die 100 Personen transportieren soll. Und auch die Nasa schmiedet Pläne.[…] Glauser erwähnt in diesem Zusammenhang das Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (Life), das an der ETH Zürich verfolgt wird.

The Alien Hunter’s Playbook Is Getting a Cutting-Edge Rewrite

[Daily Beast] Using new instruments—including NASA’s $10-billion James Webb Space Telescope as well as the Large Interferometer for Exoplanets, a probe in development in Europe—it’s possible to survey the atmospheres of distant exoplanets far beyond our own solar system.

What comes after the James Webb Space Telescope? Some astronomers want LIFE.

[Popular Science] The Large Interferometer for Exoplanets could chase new exoplanets and galaxies with a fleet of tools—if it ever gets off the ground.

LIFE, Teknologi Canggih yang Kelak Mengungkap Lebih Banyak Ekstrasurya

[National Geographic, Indonesia] Kelak, interferometer nulling akan digunakan lewat LIFE, singkatan dari Large Interferometer for Exoplanets. Orang yang mengupayakannya terwujud adalah Sacha Quanz, astrofisikawan di Eidgenössische Technische Hochschule (ETH) Zurich, Swiss.

LIFE : ภารกิจอวกาศเพื่อค้นหาสิ่งมีชีวิตนอกระบบสุริยะที่จะปฏิวัติวิทยาศาสตร์ในอนาคต

[Pantip, Thailand] ด้วยภารกิจ “LIFE” (Large Interferometer For Exoplanets) แนวคิดเกี่ยวกับภารกิจอวกาศที่มีความทะเยอทะยานพร้อมความสามารถทางวิทยาศาสตร์ที่ไม่มีใครเทียบได้ ซึ่งจะได้รับการปรับให้เหมาะสมสำหรับการตรวจจับโดยตรง และการกำหนดลักษณะบรรยากาศของดาวเคราะห์นอกระบบหลายร้อยดวงได้ โดย LIFE ได้นำเสนอเทคโนโลยีใหม่สำหรับการตรวจจับดาวเคราะห์นอกระบบด้วย mid-IR interferometers แบบ Nulling Interferometer หลักการคือการสร้าง “จุดบอด” เสมือนจริงในตำแหน่งที่แน่นอนของแหล่งกำเนิดแสงที่เป็นดาวฤกษ์ เพื่อที่จะเปิดเผยแหล่งกำเนิดแสงที่สลัวกว่า ซึ่งเป็นดาวเคราะห์ที่โคจรรอบมัน

Wie diese Schweizer Forscher Ausserirdische finden wollen

[Blick, CH] Alf, E.T. oder Independence Day – Aliens kennt jeder aus Filmen und Serien. Doch die Wissenschaft beschäftigt sich mittlerweile ganz ernsthaft damit, Spuren von ausserirdischem Leben auf fernen Planeten aufzuspüren – und Schweizer Forscher sind vorne mit dabei.

The exoplanet missions set to revolutionise science

[Innovation News] ETH Zurich’s Professor Sascha P Quanz explores the future exoplanet missions that will search for life beyond our Solar System.

Unveiling exozodiacal light

[Physics today] Nulling interferometry draws aside bright stellar glare to probe fine dust in extrasolar systems that may hamper future searches for Earthlike worlds.

Is there other life in the universe and on other planets?

[Canberra Times] Jonah Hansen, LIFE team member and PhD student specialising in space interferometry at Mount Stromlo Observatory, at the Australian National University summarizes the LIFE mission concept for the Canberra Times.

The LIFE mission: detecting life on exoplanets

[Innovation news network] Coordinated by ETH Zurich, the European LIFE mission is seeking to characterise the atmospheric composition of hundreds of nearby exoplanets to discover if life on exoplanets can exist beyond our Solar System.

Decades ahead, Europe picks goals for big space missions

[Science.org] Themes for billion-euro Voyage 2050 missions include icy moons, exoplanets, and the early universe.

Europe picks categories for three flagship space missions

[Science.org] The biggest space missions gestate for the longest time. Today, the European Space Agency (ESA) revealed the three broad science themes it wants to pursue for large-scale missions of €1 billion or more that would launch between 2035 and 2050.

Wir werden künftig Leben im Labor herstellen

[Sonntagszeitung] Vier Wissenschaftler, darunter der Schweizer Nobelpreisträger Didier Queloz, geben Auskunft über Sinn und Zweck des neuen «Zentrums für den Ursprung und die Verbreitung von Leben» an der ETH Zürich.

Searching beyond the solar system for life on exoplanets

[Innovation News Network] LIFE – a future space mission to characterise the atmospheres of terrestrial exoplanets and search for life outside the Solar System.

Faszination Exoplanet

[University of Bern magazine UniPress] Kevin Heng, Christophe Lovis und Sascha Quanz erforschen weitentfernte Planeten in anderen Sonnensystemen. Unter anderem sind sie auf der Suche nach Leben. Dabei wandeln sie immer an der Grenze des Machbaren. Eine Begegnung.

Is the earth unique? The recipe for a habitable planet

[de Volkskrant paper in the Netherlands) An article about an online conference of the Dutch Origins Center.

Die Seti-Forschung möchte ihr Schmuddel-Image loswerden

[Neue Zuericher Zeitung NZZ] LIFE is mentioned in an article about SETI-research.

Exoplaneten und Habitabilitaet

[fon-times Swiss online magazine article] About Exoplanets and habitabilities.

Gibt es wirklich 36 intelligente Zivilisationen in der Milchstrasse?

[bluewin.ch article] In der Milchstrasse könnte es gut drei Dutzend intelligente Zivilisationen geben, glauben britische Forscher. Ein Astrophysiker der ETH Zürich setzt allerdings ein Fragezeichen hinter solche Schätzungen.

How we might search for life in the future

[The Observer (external newsletter of the Swiss NCCR PlanetS)] The “LIFE” mission, proposed by PlanetS researchers, could help answer questions about the habitability of our cosmic environment by employing a direct approach.

Exoplanet News: new discoveries, characterisations, and formation research

[Exocast podcast] In America, WFIRST has been renamed the Nancy Grace Roman Space Telescope in honour to the pioneering “Mother Hubble”, while in Europe the LIFE mission kicked off.

Auf der Suche nach einer zweiten Erde

Fon-times Swiss online magazine article about the search for a second earth.

Sonne, Mond und Sterne

[Deutschlandfunk Radio ‘Echtzeit’] One topic, four facets: Today we deal with the universe in real time – something that not only fascinates science fiction fans, but also astrophysicists, architects and techno musicians. When will we really take off?

Ask An Astrobiologist: SOFIA, the Flying Telescope with Dr. Daniel Angerhausen

Once a month, SAGANet (www.saganet.org) and the NASA Astrobiology Program host a program called “Ask an Astrobiologist”, where the public is invited to interact with a high-profile astrobiologist, who replies to Twitter, Facebook, and chat questions live on video.

TOI 700 d: A Possible Habitable Zone Planet

[Centauri Dreams post] Among the discoveries announced at the recent meeting of the American Astronomical Society in Hawaii was TOI 700 d, a planet potentially in the habitable zone of its star. TOI stands for TESS Object of Interest, reminding us that this is the first Earth-size planet the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite has uncovered in its data whose orbit would allow the presence of liquid water on the surface.

Spotting Protoplanet Collision Afterglows

[Medium article, also NCCR PlanetS press release] Planets start out with a bang. During the last stage of planet formation, planetary embryos collide with other protoplanets, causing their surfaces and mantles to extensively melt. Will it be possible to directly image such molten protoplanets with future telescopes?

Exoplanets, ETHZ researchers want to revive the DARWIN project. Let`s support them!

[Swiss online magazine Le Temps] In 2007 the DARWIN project for observing Earth-sized exoplanets by a group of interferometric space telescopes was abandoned by its promoter, the ESA. Today researchers from ETH Zürich are highlighting the interest of resuming a comparable project, given the observations accumulated by the Kepler mission.

Revival of a cancelled space mission

[Article in The Observer (external newsletter of the Swiss NCCR PlanetS)] The characterization of habitable or even inhabited exoplanets is one of the ultimate goals of modern astrophysics. Reviving the concept of a space mission that was cancelled ten years ago would be most promising.