Of this large number of planets, four of them are 30 light-years from Earth, and the closest one is only 20 light-years away, according to the US Space Agency.
Scientists analyzed data from the Kepler Space Telescope, which was launched in March 2009, and found that nearly half of the stars that have a temperature similar to the sun, on average 1,500 degrees Fahrenheit, can orbit around rocky planets with liquid water on their surfaces.
Kepler detected about 150,000 stars in a region in the Milky Way during a mission that lasted three and a half years.
Scientists reached the figure of 300 million, based on the assumption that 7% of sunlike stars have habitable worlds orbiting around them.
However, they indicated that the real figure could reach 75%, which would see the figure rise from 300 million to about 3 billion.
Data from the Kepler Deep Space Telescope, which went out of business in October 2018 when it finally ran out of fuel, led to the discovery.
The Kepler mission was originally set to last 3.5 years, but the strict use of fuel enabled the spacecraft to continue operating for 9 years, 7 months and 23 days.
His mission was to search the sky, near and far, for planets orbiting other stars.
Kepler discovered more than 2,600 worlds outside our solar system and statistically proved that the Milky Way is home to more planets than stars.
The data from Kepler is so massive that astronomers are still researching its reserves to this day and publishing new findings, including the latter.
The team of 44 astronomers led by Steve Bryson of the Ames Center reached the new findings after looking at the data for two years.
“Kepler already told us that there are billions of planets, but we now know that a large part of them may be rocky and fit for life,” said Bryson, a researcher at the Ames Research Center in California, affiliated with NASA.
There are at least 100 billion stars in the Milky Way, according to NASA estimates, and 4 billion stars that resemble the Sun.
And if only 7% of those sun-like stars had habitable planets, then there might be as many as 300 million Earth-like planets in our galaxy alone.
“We want to be very conservative in case there are any surprises with nature regarding livability,” said Ravi Kumar Cobarabo, a researcher at NASA’s Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, Maryland, and one of the study’s authors. So we’re lowering estimates on purpose. ”
The team noted that the specific planets will be rocky because the larger planets tend to be gas, just like Jupiter and Saturn in the solar system. (RT)