Standard image of the new scientist

There could be around 5 billion habitable planets in the Milky Way

By Abigail Beall

Illustration of an Earth-like planet orbiting its star


Half of the stars in our galaxy that are similar to the sun could be home to an Earth-like planet that can support life.

A team led by Steve Bryson from NASA’s Ames Research Center in California analyzed data from the Kepler Space Telescope and looked for rocky planets in the habitable zone of stars as large as our sun. The habitable zone is at a distance from a star, where it is neither too hot nor too cold for liquid water to exist.

Based on discoveries by …