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March 28 2014

Dead exoplanets can have oxygen-rich atmospheres too


Think you've spotted Earth's faraway twin? Not so fast. Oxygen-rich atmospheres, touted as almost sure signs of life on habitable exoplanets, can also exist around dead worlds.

More than 1750 exoplanets have been found so far, including several in the habitable zone the region around a star where liquid water can exist. Next-generation telescopes should be able to "sniff" exoplanet atmospheres, revealing clues to their make-up.

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