Wednesday, November 6, 2013
Earth-Like Worlds "Very Common"
One in five sunlike stars harbors an Earth-size world that orbits in a "habitable zone" friendly to oceans and perhaps life, a new study suggests.
The findings, detailed in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, are based on a statistical analysis of observations made by NASA's now-crippled Kepler space telescope. (Related: "New Role for Disabled Kepler? Finding Exotic Alien Worlds.")
The astronomers estimate that 22 percent of sunlike stars may be orbited by small, rocky planets that reside within so-called habitable zones, where they receive Earth-like levels of sunlight.