NASA States That There May Be At Least 300 Million Habitable Planets In Our Galaxy

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NASA States That There May Be At Least 300 Million Habitable Planets In Our Galaxy

NASA has revealed that it believes that there are 300 million planets in the Milky Way alone that could harbour life. Researchers at the space organisation reached the 300 million figure based on the belief that 7% of stars have a habitable planet in their orbit. They also state though that if that figure was 75%, instead of 7%, the number of planets potentially harbouring life in our galaxy could be as high as 3 billion.

While that may seem like a lot of planets in our local area of space, the nearest of these planets is still 20-light-years away, with three others within 30-light-years. This means that the light from the closest planet likely to maintain life still takes 20 years to reach Earth, quite a distance. If we had a telescope strong enough to examine the planet closely, we would see it as it was 20 years ago and the same is true vice-versa, if aliens on the planet were looking at Earth they would see us all living in late-2000.

The data was gathered by the NASA deep-space telescope 'Kepler' which explored and mapped the skies, thereby giving us a good idea of how many far-off stars actually have planets surrounding them. Indeed, in Kepler's time in operation, over 9 years, it was able to identify 2,600 planets beyond our solar system.

The work of Kepler and its relationship with the recent research on the possibility of life on other planets was published in the The Astronomical Journal. Steve Bryson of NASA, who led the work, stated:

"Kepler already told us there were billions of planets, but now we know a good chunk of those planets might be rocky and habitable. Though this result is far from a final value, and water on a planet's surface is only one of many factors to support life, it's extremely exciting that we calculated these worlds are this common with such high confidence and precision."

We may not though have to wait to explore distant planets before we can ascertain whether we are alone in the universe. In February 2021, the Mars 2020 rover will land on our nearest neighbour's 'Jezero Crater', where the rover will engage in a mission to search the soil for ancient fossils.

Some scientists believe that Mars was previously covered in water and therefore, could be thought to have had life upon it. If this is the case, it may well be that fossils of previously living creatures are still accessible with the right equipment. Earlier this year, it was also suggested that there may be life living in the clouds of Venus, as a result of scientists discovering a gas that tends to only exist in the presence of organic life.

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Thinking Humanity: NASA States That There May Be At Least 300 Million Habitable Planets In Our Galaxy
NASA States That There May Be At Least 300 Million Habitable Planets In Our Galaxy
NASA has revealed that it believes that there are 300 million planets in the Milky Way alone that could harbour life. Researchers at the space organis
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