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There Are Billions Of Earths Out There. Why Can’t We Find Them?

Popular Science article shared by theTUNDRA
Popular Science article shared by theTUNDRA

Updated June 26th, 2020

In 2009, the Kepler space telescope constantly watched over some 200,000 stars in our corner of the Milky Way. It was looking for where life might exist—by pinpointing small, rocky planets in the temperate zones of warm, yellow suns, and figuring out just how special Earth is in the grand scheme of things. While the mission revolutionized the study of exoplanets, those main objectives went largely unfulfilled. A mechanical failure cut short Kepler’s initial survey in 2013. Astronomers would later discover just a single Earthlike planet in its dataset.

A decade later, researchers are finally closing in on some of the answers to the questions Kepler raised. Earthlike planets are probably rare, but not exceedingly so. Roughly one in five yellow stars could have one, according to a new analysis of Kepler’s data published in May in The Astronomical Journal. If the researchers’ conclusions are correct, that would mean the Milky Way might be home to nearly 6 billion Earths. Yet of the 4,000 likely exoplanets we’ve spotted, just one looks anything like our home planet. So where are the rest?

Read the full article at Popular Science...


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