A few years ago, a team of scientists began to wonder whether there might be other solar systems that look wildly different than ours.
The search for Earth-like planets orbiting other suns has been incredibly fruitful, bringing scientists closer and closer to the goal of finding a habitable world -- a planet somewhere in the universe where life could plausibly emerge. But the discovery of these exoplanets provided evidence of a kind of solar system zoo -- other configurations of stars and planets that don’t look much like ours. And they raised questions about theories that described how solar systems and planets form in the first place. What were the outer limits of what was possible, the scientists began to wonder?