Since 1992, we've discovered over 4,000 exoplanets in star systems across the universe. Planetary scientists are searching for answers to some of life's key questions: Are we alone? What makes an exoplanet potentially habitable? And what conditions do there need to be on that world in order for life to exist?

Researchers have long used our own home—which lies within the sun's habitable zone and is home to lots of liquid water—as the gold standard, seeking out planets in other systems that are just like Earth.

When evaluating the potential for life on other worlds, planetary scientists often assess its size, mass, and atmosphere first.

Now, one team argues it may be time to broaden our horizons.

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