The University of Cambridge's Institute of Astronomy has topped a shortlist to receive funding for interplanetary exploration. The institute has won funding for one of three initiatives that have been granted a total of £3.65 million of preparatory funding by the UK Space Agency, which was set up earlier this year. Cambridge's Plato project proposes searching for habitable planets beyond our solar system. It has identified "habitable zones" around stars and wants to produce technology that will detect rocky planets within such areas. A final decision about which initiatives will receive full funding is due to be made next year.