Wednesday, September 25, 2013
30 Billion Possible Life Bearing Planets
The New Scientist has created a fascinating interactive that extrapolates from the results of NASA's search for possible life bearing planets near the constellation Cygnus.
NASA's Kepler space telescope discovered 51 planets that are the right size to bear life and seem to orbit in the habitable zone around a parent star. However Kepler can only detect planets that pass directly between the planet's sun and the telescope. The New Scientist interactive extrapolates for the probable missing worlds and arrives at a possible 22,500 planets that exist in this relatively small corner of the galaxy near Cygnus.
The New Scientist then extrapolates from that figure to create a map of the Milky Way with billions of possible life bearing planets. How Many Earths? A lot!