There Are Billions of Earth-Like Planets in Our Galaxy
At least 8.8 billion planets like ours in the Milky Way, study finds
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 4, 2013 5:21 PM CST
This artist's rendition shows Kepler-69c, a super-Earth-size planet in the habitable zone of a star like our sun, located about 2,700 light-years from Earth in the constellation Cygnus.   ((AP Photo/NASA/Ames/JPL-Caltech))

(Newser) – Space is vast, but it may not be so lonely after all: A study finds the Milky Way is teeming with billions of planets that are about the size of Earth, orbit stars just like our sun, and exist in the Goldilocks zone—not too hot and not too cold for life. In a study published today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Science, astronomers used NASA data to calculate for the first time that in our galaxy alone, there are at least 8.8 billion stars with Earth-size planets in the habitable temperature zone. For perspective, that's more Earth-like planets than there are people on Earth.

As for what it says about the odds that there is life somewhere out there, it means "just in our Milky Way galaxy alone, that's 8.8 billion throws of the biological dice," says a study co-author Geoff Marcy. The next step, scientists say, is to look for atmospheres on these planets with powerful space telescopes that have yet to be launched. That would yield further clues as to whether any of these planets do, in fact, harbor life. The findings also raise a blaring question, Marcy says: If we aren't alone, why is "there a deafening silence in our Milky Way galaxy from advanced civilizations?"

Copyright 2016 Newser, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. AP contributed to this report.

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Showing 3 of 78 comments
TwoSheds
Nov 11, 2013 2:45 AM CST
We can't hear them because some jackass kid is driving around all night shaking the foundations with a souped up car stereo.
lilia.s
Nov 9, 2013 11:21 AM CST
"deafening silence"?? how vain some of us are to believe that any other life forms in the universe will have the same communication technology that has evolved here on earth, and will use english?? What idiots!
Ezekiel 25:17
Nov 6, 2013 8:12 PM CST
I just remember in high school when Carl Sagan said, "I believe there are boulliouns and boulliouns of possible Earth-like planets out there that we will not be able to reach. But knowing is the greatest thing for mankind."