The quest of life outside our solar system: why and how?
With more than 700 exoplanets detected so far, a long-standing question has been answered: yes, planets exist outside our solar system, and are not uncommon. The spectroscopy of these objects is the next big goal, in particular for exo-Earths in the habitable zone of Sun-like stars which physicochemical conditions could be propitious to the emergence of primitive forms of life. However, performing direct spectroscopy of Earth-like planets – as the key step of the characterization process – requires collecting the light from the very dim planets themselves. After briefly summarizing our current knowledge of the field, I will explain how a better understanding of exoplanetary systems – and ultimately the challenge of exo-Earths spectroscopy – could be supported by advances in modern instrumentation.