Discovery of Exoplanets
Exoplanets have been an important topic of research for a long time, as more than 4296 exoplanets have been observed across thousands of solar systems and more than 5,634 have to be evaluated. The impressive numbers offer the opportunity to estimate how many habitable planets could be found in space.
A team of international researchers used data collected by the retired Kepler Space Telescope and the Gaia Observatory to learn more about planets that might be habitable, and the results were quite interesting.
Data from Kepler
Approximately half of the solar systems that feature a star similar to ur sun could also house rocky planets that are similar to Earth, and some might be quite close to Earth. The Kepler Space Telescope is credited with the discovery of most exoplanets to date.
Some estimates infer that there might be between 100 to 400 billion stars in the Milky Way and even more planets. This means that there are at least millions of planets that might be able to host life as we know it, especially if they orbit stars that share traits with the Sun.
Millions of planets
Current information suggests that more than 300 million planets found in the Milky Way might be habitable, and four of them could be located at a distance of 30 light-years from the solar system. The closest one can be found at 20 light-years away from it.
The new study has also taken into account the presence of overlapping traits which are needed to determine if a planet can offer conditions that are suitable for life. However, limitations posed by current space telescopes limit the ability to track down and explore such planets, for now, a situation that will change in the following years when new space telescopes will become operational.
More data could be shared in the future, and the study was published in a scientific journal.