ESA to launch its space-based observatory PLATO to hunt planets by 2024

A space-based observatory to search for planets orbiting alien stars has been selected as ESA`s third medium-class science mission, and is planned for launch by 2024.

Abundant `mini-Neptunes` form new class of alien planets

Kepler`s cornucopia of alien worlds has found a new entrant in the form of a new kind of planet.

`Habitable Zone` for alien planets redefined

The habitable zone defines the region where a planet might be able to retain liquid water on its surface.

Alien planets would have leap years too: Scientists

Alien planets would likely have a leap year too similar to the 366-day year that comes in every four years in our calender, scientists say.

Tidal heating may leave some alien planets waterless

Some exoplanets may experience powerful tidal forces, which could strip them of water completely.