How New LIFE Telescope looking for habitats beyond Earth

Imagine a space telescope unlike any other, one that peers into the depths of space searching for signs of life on distant worlds. That’s the essence of the Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE) aka LIFE telescope, an interesting but important project born from the brilliance of scientists at ETH Zurich in Switzerland to explore life beyond Earth by collecting infrared light from distinct worlds.

The LIFE telescope is Like No Other

LIFE isn’t your run-of-the-mill telescope. It’s an interferometer, combining the strength of five telescopes to create a cosmic detective, stationed at Lagrange Point 2, a staggering 1.5 million kilometers from Earth. Its gaze is fixed on the mid-infrared range, where the secrets of habitability lie hidden within exoplanet atmospheres. Before venturing into the unknown, researchers put LIFE through its paces using Earth as a surrogate for an exoplanet. By analyzing real data from our atmosphere and simulating different viewing angles and seasonal changes, they evaluated LIFE’s ability to detect key chemicals indicative of habitable conditions.

stars and planets

Besides examining the atmospheres of Earth-like exoplanets, LIFE telescope could also uncover groundbreaking discoveries in other areas of space science. It might help us understand how stars and planets form, shed light on the life cycles of aging stars, and even offer insights into the mysterious cores of active galactic nuclei (AGN).


The findings, detailed in The Astronomical Journal, revealed LIFE’s prowess in identifying crucial compounds like CO2, water, ozone, and methane – all vital signs of a potentially life-friendly world. Even the presence of liquid water didn’t escape its keen eye. Surprisingly, LIFE’s observations remained consistent, regardless of Earth’s orientation, suggesting its adaptability in scrutinizing exoplanets from various angles.

While detecting these chemicals marks a significant achievement, the time required for observation is a critical consideration. To maximize its mission, LIFE must balance thorough detection with efficient observation. Insights gained from meticulous analysis provide valuable guidance on optimal observation times for different scenarios.

What are the Targets and Goals of LIFE

Not all exoplanets are created equal in terms of observability. Some, like those orbiting Proxima Centauri, offer easier targets, requiring minimal observation time. However, Earth-like twins at greater distances present a formidable challenge, demanding prolonged scrutiny. Nevertheless, LIFE stands as a beacon of hope in our quest for extraterrestrial life.

Also, In exoplanet exploration, LIFE faces competition from NASA‘s proposed Habitable Worlds Observatory (HWO). While both share the goal of unraveling the mysteries of distant worlds, LIFE emerges as the frontrunner, boasting unmatched capabilities in detecting biosignatures.


Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE) represents a bold step forward With its innovative design for exoplanet exploration & unlocking the secrets of distant worlds. If life exists beyond our planet, LIFE stands ready to find it, guiding us toward a deeper understanding of our place in the universe.

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