Stars that resemble our own Sun are scattered around the Milky Way and a new study has suggested that any planets orbiting those stars may very well be hotter and more dynamic than Earth.
That is because the interiors of any terrestrial planets in these systems are likely warmer than Earth - up to 25% warmer, which would make them more geologically active and more likely to retain enough liquid water to support life, at least in its microbial form.
The preliminary finding comes from geologists and astronomers at Ohio State University, who have teamed up to search for alien life in a new way.
They studied eight 'solar twins' of Sun in order to measure the amounts of radioactive elements they contain. They searched the solar twins for elements such as thorium and uranium, which are essential to Earth's plate tectonics because they warm our planets interior.
Plate tectonics helps maintain water on the surface of the Earth, so the existence of plate tectonics is sometimes taken as an indicator of a planet's hospitality to life.