At least two billion Earthlike planets in our galaxy

Our Milky Way galaxy may be home to at least two billion Earthlike planets.

But don’t start making colonization plans just yet: The number is actually far lower than many scientists were expecting, which could make it hard to find other “Earths” in our galaxy.

The new estimate is the first of its kind based on data from NASA’s Kepler space telescope, which was designed to search for planets that transit—or cross in front of—their stars, as seen from Earth.

Based on what Kepler’s seen so far up to 2.7 percent of all sunlike stars in the Milky Way host so-called Earth analogs. There are about a hundred billion sunlike stars within the Milky Way. Two percent of those might have Earth analogs, so you have two billion Earth analog planets in the galaxy.

Then you start thinking about other galaxies. There are something like 50 billion other galaxies in the known universe, and if each one has two billion Earthlike planets, it’s mind boggling. Read more here.


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