Astronomers have estimated for the first time that the Milky Way is home to at least 100 Million planets capable of harboring complex life.
The report from the group of astronomers responsible has appeared in the journal Challenges, the study the first quantitative estimate of the number of worlds potentially home to life.
“This study does not indicate that complex life exists on that many planets. We’re saying that there are planetary conditions that could support it. Origin of life questions are not addressed – only the conditions to support life,” according to the paper’s authors Alberto Fairén, Cornell research associate; Louis Irwin, University of Texas at El Paso (lead author); Abel Méndez, University of Puerto Rico at Arecibo; and Dirk Schulze-Makuch, Washington State University.
“Complex life doesn’t mean intelligent life – though it doesn’t rule it out or even animal life – but simply that organisms larger and more complex than microbes could exist in a number of different forms. For example, organisms that form stable food webs like those found in ecosystems on Earth,” the researchers explain in an auxiliary statement.
Check out the entire article here at phys.org.