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May 16 2013

Search for E.T. Should Extend Beyond 'Alien Earths,' Astronomer Says

Scientists searching for signs of life beyond our solar system should keep an open mind, for planets very different than Earth may well be habitable, a prominent researcher says.

While it may seem natural to zero in on "alien Earths," such a narrow focus would exclude many potentially life-supporting exoplanets, whose diversity continues to astound astronomers, says Sara Seager of MIT.

And researchers can't afford to be so picky, she adds, since they'll be able to get in-depth looks at just a handful of alien worlds for the foreseeable future.

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