New Delhi | Jagran Trending Desk: Milky Way could hold an estimated 300 million potentially habitable worlds and four of them could be within a distance of 30 light years from the Sun, a new study authorised by NASA scientists who worked on the Kepler mission, has suggested.

Nearly half the stars similar in temperature to our sun could have a rocky planet capable of supporting liquid water on its surface and several of them could be in the vicinity of our sun, according to this study that has been accepted for publication in the Astronomical Journal. 

"Kepler already told us there were billions of planets, but now we know a good chunk of those planets might by rocky and habitable," a NASA statement quoted the lead author Steve Bryson, as saying. "Though this result is far from a final value, and water on a planet's surface is only one of many factors to support life, it's extremely exciting that we calculate these world are this common with such high confidence and precision." 

The hunt for an Earth-like habitable planet in a different galaxy altogether has picked up remarkable pace in past few years. For this study, the researchers looked at exoplanets between a radius of 0.5 and 1.5 times that of Earth's, and narrowing in on planets that are most likely rocky, a NASA statement explained. 

"We always knew defining habitability simply in terms of a planet's physical distance from a star, so that it's not too hot or cold, left us making a lot of assumptions," said Ravi Kopparapu, an author on the paper. “Gaia’s data on stars allowed up to look at these planets and their stars in an entirely new way.”

Posted By: Lakshay Raja