(Getty Images)

Our galaxy contains far more habitable Earth-like planets than previously thought, according to a UC Berkeley-led analysis. The study finds that about one in five of the sun-like stars in the Milky Way may have planets approximately the size of Earth, capable of holding liquid water, and bathed in sunlight. We discuss the findings, which are based on observations by NASA’s Kepler space telescope.

Guests:
Andrew Fraknoi, chair of the Astronomy Program at Foothill College
Erik Petigura, graduate student in astronomy at UC Berkeley who led the analysis of the Kepler data

  • Ehkzu

    A caller said it’s simplistic to assume life out there can only be like ours. Perhaps. But it’s equally simplistic to assume that life unlike ours is possible. It’s perfectly possible that it isn’t possible.

  • Dixon de Leña

    Ok, ok, full disclosure: my wife and I don’t do a real deep clean of the house until we’re about to have company. ‘- I’d like to think this research means that we might have visitors soon so let’s pick up around here! Let’s start with global warming then a lot of trash starts to get cleaned up. First impressions and all that!

  • Al Gamow

    The galaxy might be loaded with rock-like planets in the goldilocks zone of their respective stars, but the planets that have water like ours is a fraction of those planets. I’m pretty sure we don’t have good probabilities of planets that have a lot of water like ours does. If I had to guess, I’d say planets with a lot of liquid water make up a very small fraction of all rock-like planets. I agree that water might not be the only solvent capable of giving forth life, but it’s probably the best one.

  • could be the most fascinating topic covered on Forum so far, and many of the topics are fascinating.

  • chrisnfolsom

    Does anyone understand 100 billion stars, or 100 billion galaxies? I have a hard time, and our ability to judge probability on that scale is small as most of us have a hard time card counting playing blackjack… The more we look the MORE we see – that is a trend, organic molecules in asteroids, life in rocks in many of the deep well we drill etc, etc. The only thing telling us we are alone is a myopic view hinted by some books that were written before we knew about bacteria all of which you have to ignore quite a few statements to make sense. So you have one trend that is based on physical evidence that is growing and growing and opening up more and more possibilities and another trend in religion that is showing that more and more excuses have to be made regarding inconsistencies and outright incorrect ideas – the more you analyze the more holes are exposed. It’s up to us to pick the path that makes more sense.

  • Vivi

    I do not believe your hypothesis regarding life sustaining planets such as our earth.

Sponsored by

Become a KQED sponsor