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The search for habitable planets like Earth around other stars fulfils an ancient imperative to understand our origins and place in the cosmos. The past decade has seen the discovery of hundreds of planets, but nearly all are gas giants like Jupiter and Saturn. Recent advances in instrumentation and new missions are extending searches to planets the size of the Earth, but closer to their host stars. There are several possible ways such planets could form, and future observations will soon testdoi:10.1126/science.1144358 pmid:17932279 fatcat:f6f5gldlhnbhjmv5xtjefbv5ru