Astronomer Laura Kreidberg admits she was initially a bit worried about her latest results. Examinations of a planet orbiting the red dwarf star LHS 3844 seemed to indicate that the rocky super-Earth, 30 percent larger than our world, possessed little or no atmosphere.

Kreidberg’s concern stemmed from the fact that researchers are in the midst of a heated debate about the habitability of planets around red dwarfs, which make up 70 percent of the stars in our galaxy. A universe teeming with life is more likely if the worlds orbiting these diminutive entities, which are smaller and cooler than our sun, could be a good abode for biology.

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