Scientists estimate 10 billion Earth-like planets may exist in the Milky Way galaxy

Published: Wednesday, March 28 2012 1:14 p.m. MDT

This 2011 handout photo provided by the European Southern Observatory, shows the Milky Way above the La Silla Observatory in Chile.

Associated Press

Our take: It probably comes as a surprise to most readers that there could be 10 billion Earth-like planets in the Universe let alone close enough to home to be in our own galaxy.

About 40 percent of red dwarf stars may have Earth-sized planets orbiting them that have the right conditions for life.

Red dwarfs — which are smaller and cooler than our sun — are extremely common, making up 80 percent of stars in the galaxy. Their ubiquity suggests that there are tens of billions of possible places to look for life beyond Earth, with at least 100 such planets located nearby.

Read more about the search for Earth-like planets at wired.com.

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