How many planets could support life in the Milky Way? Have you ever thought of the numbers? Well, NASA has now come up with an estimate that about 300 million planets in the Milky Way support life.
Most of the planets that are estimated to have life are rocky and much similar to earth and orbit in the “Goldilocks zone,” according to NASA estimates. NASA confirmed this after analysing data from the Kepler space telescope. Moreover, the stars found along with the planets were similar to that the Sun with the same temperature.
The study published in the Astronomical Journal said that some of the exo-planets could be much closer to the sun (20 or 30 light years from the Sun). NASA scientists who worked on Kepler Mission authored the study. The telescope under the mission was brought down in 2018 after nine years. In all these years, the telescope has brought to light billions of planets in the galaxy.
Lead author Steve Bryson said that Kepler has already revealed that billions of planets are out there and now there is good evidence that most of them are rocky and can hold life. Bryson is researcher at NASA’s Ames Research Center in California’s Silicon Valley.
The findings are said to be a significant step towards astronomical science. Another author Ravi Kopparapu said that Gaia’s data on stars helped them to look at these planets and the stars in a different way.
Gaia gives information on the amount of energy falling on a planet from its host star. He said that this allowed them to approach the analysis in a way that acknowledged the diversity of the stars and solar systems.
The researchers used a conservative estimate of the atmosphere’s effect to calculate the level of habitation.
NASA held the study in collaboration with many leading scientists and institutes around the world.