Astronomers using data collected by the Kepler telescope have extrapolated that there are about 8.8 billion planets like earth circling stars like the sun at habitable distances in our galaxy. They have estimated that there are more than 30 billion additional planets in our galaxy in habitable zones circling stars that are not like our sun. They speculate that the nearest earth-like planet may be only 12 light years away! Per the article:


There are likely "tens of billions" of Earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy, according to a study released Monday by astronomers from the University of California-Berkeley and the University of Hawaii. "Planets like our Earth are relatively common throughout the Milky Way galaxy," said astronomer Andrew Howard of the University of Hawaii, who estimates the number at  about 40 billion.

In fact, the nearest Earth-like planet may be "only" 12 light years away, which is roughly 72 trillion miles.

In all, about 8.8 billion stars in our galaxy have planets that are nearly the size of Earth and also have a surface temperature conducive to the development of life. But many more stars (those not similar to our sun) also have planets where life could form, which is where the 40 billion-planet figure comes from....The study was published online Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences using data from the Kepler telescope.

(Bold added to emphasize the implications!)  

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How is it possible for so many here to believe that we are unique in the universe. With all that potential for life it would be incredible to believe that we are alone, or that we are the apex.

I fully agree. Moreover, the scientists are saying that life supporting planets might be only 12 light years away from us. Of course this is profound. That is, if there are planets supporting highly intelligent life only 12 light years away from us it is not ridiculous to entertain the possibility that we have been discovered by extraterrestrials. 

I don't know where I saw this statement / saying, but I thought it spoke very well, not just to the creation of life but to the creation of planets:

Whenever nature does something, it usually does it more than once.
-- Anon.

Someone once proposed that there were actually physical laws (or tendencies) which governed how planets formed in the early days and years (and eons!) of a solar system.  The Titius-Bode law suggests that there may be some regularity to this process, though there are also clear exceptions, and it may explain why so many planets fall in the "Goldilocks" zone of some stars.

In any case, this is exciting as hell!

Every new scientific will help to send the god-idea to hell.

I hope you are right, Madhukar. Some people are going to deny science forever, but I have hope that we are raising a generation of much more rational children.




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