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The Goldilocks problem for detecting water worlds to Dune planets: Constraining water abundances in the mid-IR with LIFE

Presentation #628.08 in the session Future Missions and Instrumentation.

Published onApr 03, 2024
The Goldilocks problem for detecting water worlds to Dune planets: Constraining water abundances in the mid-IR with LIFE

The Habitable Zone is commonly defined as the region around the star where a planet could have liquid water on the surface, but how do we know if the planet indeed does or does not have water? The Large Interferometer for Exoplanets (LIFE) is a proposed mission concept in the IR following in the footsteps of Darwin/TPF-I optimized for characterizing Earth-like planets in the HZs of nearby stars. We model the detectability of water vapor using the LIFE simulator to determine the feasibility for constraining the presence of oceans on exoplanets to observe habitability directly with this mission. We find a sweet spot for ocean detections and discuss the synergies with the Habitable Worlds Observatory.

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