There’s a really great article at National Geographic today about the probability of life on all those other planets in Earth’s so-called ‘habitable zone’. According to astrophysicist Sara Seager, there are more planets than there are stars, and at least a quarter are Earth-size planets in their star’s so-called habitable zone, where conditions are neither too hot nor too cold for life. With a minimum of 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, that means there are at least 25 billion places where life could conceivably take hold in our galaxy alone—and our galaxy is one among trillions.
An influx of private funding has reenergized the search for life elsewhere among the stars, so it’s conceivable that we may find life as early as the next generation of planet-hunting satellites, if not this one. There’s an informative and interesting info-graphic on planet hunters within the article that’s worth a look too. Research has broadened from merely listening for radio signals to searching for optical and infrared emissions as well.
The article I’ve linked above is meaty with infographics, new research and lots of spectacular photos. If you have any interest at all in life beyond our own, you’ll find the article of interest. Check it out, I’d love to know what you think!