Scientists have expanded our understanding of potentially habitable planets orbiting distant stars by including a critical climate component—the presence of airborne dust.

The researchers suggest that planets with significant airborne dust—similar to the world portrayed in the classic sci-fi Dune—could be habitable over a greater range of distances from their parent star, therefore increasing the window for planets capable of sustaining life.

The team from the University of Exeter, the Met Office and the University of East Anglia (UEA) isolated three primary impacts of dust.

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