Alan Boss: Trillions of Earth-Like Planets May Exist

We are not alone: ‘trillions’ of planets could be supporting life
The Times

Almost every star similar to the Sun probably has a life-harbouring planet like the Earth in orbit around it, a leading astronomer said yesterday. The discovery of hundreds of planets around distant stars in our galaxy suggests that most solar systems have a world like ours that is capable of supporting life, and many of them are likely to have evolved it, according to Alan Boss, of the Carnegie Institution in Washington.

NASA’s Kepler spacecraft, which will be launched next month to seek Earth-like worlds, is expected to find thousands of rocky planets in the patch of sky it surveys, Dr Boss told the American Association for the Advancement of Science conference in Chicago.

“We’re on the verge of finding out convincingly how frequently habitable planets occur in the Universe,” he said. “A little over 20 years ago we knew of no other planetary system other than our own. We now know of well over 300. I suspect that virtually every star when you look up at the night sky has an Earth-like planet around it.”

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