Observing known Exoplanets with LIFE: 10th LIFE paper accepted

A valuable metric to determine the scientific potential of the LIFE mission is to compute which of the currently known exoplanets are potentially detectable with it. Carrión-González et al. (available on arXiv) processed the database of confirmed exoplanets and analysed which of them are detectable with different configurations of LIFE. Out of the 259 known exoplanets within 20 parsec, LIFE’s reference configuration can detect 212 of them. Of these, 38 LIFE-detectable planets orbit in the habitable zone of their host star, including 13 low-mass planets with Mp<5M⊕. With the same methodology, they also computed which of the known exoplanets are potential targets for the Habitable Worlds Observatory –NASA’s next flagship mission– in reflected starlight. Up to 55 planets within 20 parsec are detectable both with LIFE and HWO. This offers encouraging prospects for atmospheric characterization combining direct-imaging observations in mid-IR thermal emission –with LIFE– and in visible reflected starlight –with HWO.

Potentially detectable currently-known exoplanets (coloured circles and histograms) compared to the total population of known exoplanets
within 20 pc (grey dots and histograms), shown as a function of their semimajor axis.

Planetary systems with HZ planets detectable with LIFE’s reference configuration. Planets detectable with LIFE are shown by green
circles and those which are not, by black circles. Inscribed white-star markers indicate planets that are accessible with HWO in reflected starlight
(Paccess>25%). Blue-shaded regions show the conservative HZ of each star, with lighter-blue regions being the optimistic HZ zone (Kopparapu
et al. 2014). The sizes of the markers both for stars and planets are proportional to their masses. Stars are color-coded depending on their spectral
type (red, orange, yellow, blue-grey and light blue for M, K, G, F and A stars resp.). The Solar System is depicted in the first subplot for reference.