Do we inhabit the best of all possible worlds? German mathematician Gottfried Leibniz thought so, writing in 1710 that our planet, warts and all, must be the most optimal one imaginable. Leibniz's idea was roundly scorned as unscientific wishful thinking, most notably by French author Voltaire in his magnum opus, Candide. Yet Leibniz might find sympathy from at least one group of scientists—the astronomers who have for decades treated Earth as a golden standard as they search for worlds beyond our own solar system.