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Published December 17, 2019 | Submitted
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The Super-Earth Opportunity - Search for Habitable Exoplanets in the 2020s


The recent discovery of a staggering diversity of planets beyond the Solar System has brought with it a greatly expanded search space for habitable worlds. The Kepler exoplanet survey has revealed that most planets in our interstellar neighborhood are larger than Earth and smaller than Neptune. Collectively termed super-Earths and mini-Neptunes, some of these planets may have the conditions to support liquid water oceans, and thus Earth-like biology, despite differing in many ways from our own planet. In addition to their quantitative abundance, super-Earths are relatively large and are thus more easily detected than true Earth twins. As a result, super-Earths represent a uniquely powerful opportunity to discover and explore a panoply of fascinating and potentially habitable planets in 2020 - 2030 and beyond.

Additional Information

The research was carried out at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory, California Institute of Technology, under a contract with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.

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