Thursday, January 12, 2012

Milky Way could contain billions of habitable planets like Earth, says study

Habitable planets may be in orbit around billions of stars in the Milky Way, a long-term study has suggested.

Astronomers came to the conclusion after a six-year star survey which suggests planets on which humans could live are commonplace in our galaxy.

Scientists estimate as many as 10 billion stars in the Milky Way may host planets in the habitable - or 'Goldilocks' - zone.

This is the orbital band within which conditions are not too cold and not too hot but 'just right' to allow surface liquid water and, potentially, life.

The discovery raises the possibility of a universe teeming with life, as depicted in popular sci-fi movies and TV series such as Star Wars and Star Trek.

However, scientists stress that just because a planet has conditions suitable for life it does not follow that life has evolved there. Read More