NASA has discovered 219 new possible planets outside our solar system, including 10 near-Earth-sized candidates with potentially habitable conditions.
After four years, the Kepler Space Telescope mission has found a total of 4,034 planet candidates, with over half of them confirmed.
“With this catalog, we’re able to extend [our analysis of planets’ demographics] out to the longest periods, those periods that are most similar to our Earth,” said Susan Thompson, a Kepler research scientist for the SETI Institute in California.
“As a result, this survey catalog will be the foundation for directly answering one of astronomy’s most compelling questions: How many planets like our Earth are actually in the galaxy?”
However, Thompson said it will still take a year for the Kepler team to find out how common potentially habitable planets are in the Milky Way galaxy.