A large-aperture UV-O-IR space observatory will be capable of achieving major science goals highlighted by the NASA 30-year astrophysics roadmap (Enduring Quests, Daring Visions) and the recent AURA Beyond JWST report (From Cosmic Birth to Living Earths). The actual science priorities for the mission will be identified through the STDT process, but below we summarize some of the key capabilities of a LUVOIR-class telescope.
LUVOIR's unprecedented resolution will resolve 1-parsec-sized star-forming regions of galaxies at distances up to 10-25 mega-parsecs, map the distribution of dark matter in the nearby universe, and isolate gravitational wave sources.
LUVOIR will enable astronomers to detect biomarkers on distant Earth-like worlds, analyze the structure and composition of non-Earth-like planets, and image faint circumstellar disks to provide insights on how planets form.
LUVOIR will identify the first starlight in the early universe, uncover the archaeology of early galaxies, and find the first black holes.
LUVOIR will be able to resolve surface and cloud features as small as 50 km for outer planets and 200 km on Kuiper belt objects, and will image the icy plumes from giant planet moons.