PASADENA, Calif., March 22 (UPI) -- A new estimate of the number of possible alien Earths orbiting distant stars puts the figure at 2 billion in our Milky Way galaxy alone, U.S. researchers say.
A study analyzing date from NASA's Kepler space telescope found about one out of every 37, to one out of every 70, sun-like stars visible in the nighttime sky might harbor an alien Earth, SPACE.com reported Tuesday.
Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, Calif., analyzed months of data from Kepler and determined that 1.4 percent to 2.7 percent of all stars like our sun could be expected to have Earth-like planets -- worlds within the habitable zones of their stars where liquid water could exist on their surfaces.
"This means there are a lot of Earth analogs out there -- 2 billion in the Milky Way galaxy," JPL researcher Joseph Catanzarite said. "With that large a number, there's a good chance life and maybe even intelligent life might exist on some of those planets. And that's just our galaxy alone -- there are 50 billion other galaxies."