Astronomers have detected an alien planet that may be capable of supporting life as we know it — and it's just a stone's throw from Earth in the cosmic scheme of things.

The newfound exoplanet, a so-called "super-Earth" called HD 40307g, is located inside its host star's habitable zone, a just-right range of distances where liquid water may exist on a world's surface. And the planet lies a mere 42 light-years away from Earth, meaning that future telescopes might be able to image it directly, researchers said.

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