An artist's impression of a potentially habitable exoplanet in the Gliese 581 system. Image: Lynette Cook/NASA Determining the habitability of rocky, Earth-like planets in the universe will be crucial for us as a species, according to scientists from The Australian National University.But the good news is that these planets are probably more abundant than stars, researchers from the ANU Planetary Science Institute have discovered. The institute is a joint venture of the Research School of Astronomy and Astrophysics and the Research School of Earth Sciences.“Determining whether these planets are habitable has become the new holy grail of astronomy,” said planetary scientist Dr Charley Lineweaver, lead author of the study.“The new-found abundance of planets, combined with the much larger range of inhabited terrestrial environments suggests that habitable planets are common. This increases the probability of finding some kind of extraterrestrial life,” he said.Fellow researcher and PhD student Aditya Chopra said our best estimates...
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