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Space & Astronomy

Milky Way has 100 million life-giving planets

By T.K. Randall
June 9, 2014 · Comment icon 132 comments

Our galaxy could be teeming with life. Image Credit: NASA/ESA/ESO
A group of astronomers has estimated the number of habitable planets in our galaxy for the first time.
As the number of extrasolar planet discoveries increases, so too does our overall understanding of the nature and distribution of planetary bodies in our galaxy. It has long been speculated that there could be many more habitable Earth-like worlds spread out across the cosmos but determining exactly how many has remained something of a challenge.

Now a group of astronomers has come up with a new computational method through which they believe they have found the answer.
Taking in to consideration everything we know about extrasolar planets the group has calculated that there could be at least 100 million worlds within the Milky Way galaxy on which primitive life could feasibly develop.

"This study does not indicate that complex life exists on that many planets," the authors wrote. "We're saying that there are planetary conditions that could support it."

"Complex life doesn't mean intelligent life – though it doesn't rule it out or even animal life – but simply that organisms larger and more complex than microbes could exist in a number of different forms."

Source: Phys.org | Comments (132)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #123 Posted by aquatus1 10 years ago
Most certainly not just "because it was there". We went there for the same reason people want to climb every mountain and swim every sea. Because of the competition. Once someone does it, people stop caring about it. Besides there is a huge difference in exploring a world an terraforming it. Right now, sure. There used to be a huge difference in walking over the next mountain to discover the next valley, and building a new village there. Nowadays, not so much. ]Edited to add:[/u]People swim the English Channel because it is there. People dug a tunnel under the English Channel to make money. Ye... [More]
Comment icon #124 Posted by Waspie_Dwarf 10 years ago
When we finally go back to the moon, no one is going to be struck with a sense of awe at the accomplishment. Most people will be more along the lines of "about time." All very interesting but a total non-argument when it comes to terraforming. Terraforming will not be done "because it is there". It is a vast engineering task NOT an act of exploration. No one ever bridged a river or tunnel through a mountain "because it was there". When people build the world's tallest structure they don't do it just because they can, sure the prestige is part of the reason, but profit is the driving force. If ... [More]
Comment icon #125 Posted by aquatus1 10 years ago
Terraforming will not be done "because it is there". It is a vast engineering task NOT an act of exploration. "Because it's there" isn't about exploration. It's about conquest. No one ever bridged a river or tunnel through a mountain "because it was there". We went to the moon "because it was there", i.e. we wanted to be the first guys there. When people build the world's tallest structure they don't do it just because they can, sure the prestige is part of the reason, but profit is the driving force. Sure. It's like swimming the English Channel. It's cool and all, but it's been done. The only... [More]
Comment icon #126 Posted by gatekeeper32 10 years ago
Hopefully more intelligent then we are.
Comment icon #127 Posted by toast 10 years ago
Hopefully more intelligent then we are.
Comment icon #128 Posted by TheGreatBeliever 10 years ago
If they do find complex life I only have two questions; how much of it is there and how delicious is it? If any it'd be extremely expensive imported here
Comment icon #129 Posted by Frank Merton 10 years ago
And would upset your stomach something fierce.
Comment icon #130 Posted by Gomar 10 years ago
"Yes 400 billion divided by 100 million and you have the average amount of habitable planets revolving around each star."ppCool. And multiply that by number of galaxies in the Universe and you get the total number of aliens watching Football(Soccer) world series on their alien world.pYet, for some reason I havent seen any green skinned aliens walking around Times Square.
Comment icon #131 Posted by StarMountainKid 10 years ago
About terraforming Venus, how about floating cities instead. Landis has proposed aerostat habitats followed by floating cities, based on the concept that breathable air (21:79 Oxygen/Nitrogen mixture) is a lifting gas in the dense carbon dioxide atmosphere, with over 60% of the lifting power that helium has on Earth.[4] In effect, a balloon full of human-breathable air would sustain itself and extra weight (such as a colony) in midair. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Colonization_of_Venus#Aerostat_habitats_and_floating_cities
Comment icon #132 Posted by aquatus1 10 years ago
I would think that was an inevitable step in the process.


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