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The discoveries of thousands of planets orbiting stars outside our solar system has made questions about the potential for life to form on these planets fundamentally important in modern science. Fundamentally important for the habitability of a planet is whether or not it can hold onto an atmosphere, which requires that the atmosphere is not completely lost early in the lifetime of the planet. A new study by researchers based at the University of Vienna and at the Space Research Institute of the ÖAW in Graz has shown that young stars can rapidly destroy the atmospheres of potentially-habitable Earth-like planets, which is a significant additional difficulty for the formation of life outside our solar system. The results will appear soon in the journal Astronomy & Astrophysics Letters.

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Category: Science