According to a study there are tens of billions of planets like earth in our galaxy alone. The information shows that there is more than one earth-like planet for every single person on planet earth. Earth-like planets are seen as more likely to be able to support life, though their suitability can be difficult to determine.
The study, which was performed by scientists from the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Hawaii, used data from the Kepler telescope in order to estimate the total number of planets close to the size of earth in our galaxy.
Kepler images of more than 150,000 stars in the Milky Way were used. The pictures were analyzed for evidence of planets orbiting those stars, and those planets were then studied to identify their attributes. The astronomers who performed this study looked at stars close to the temperature of our own sun and identified planets of a similar size to earth at a similar distance from their star.
The scientists then used an algorithm to extrapolate their findings and estimate the amount of earth-like planets that exist around the whole galaxy. There are problems with the identification, but it is an important first step for identifying habitable planets.
Discovering planets that are close to earth and similar to it is just a small part of the attempt to find extra terrestrial life. There is no defined test to decide whether a planet is inhabited and the fact that a second inhabited planet has never been found means that we have few tests for our methodology.
The identification of billions of planets that appear to be similar to earth is a small part of the world’s effort to describe the galaxy, but it may be an important one in the search for other beings in the galaxy.