Odds of Finding Alien Life Boosted By Billions of Habitable Worlds
A new estimate of the number of habitable planets orbiting the most common type of stars in our galaxy could have huge consequences for the search for life. According to a recent study, tens of billions of planets around red dwarfs are likely capable of containing liquid water, dramatically increasing the potential to find signs of life somewhere other than Earth.
Red dwarfs are stars that are fainter, cooler and less massive than the sun, and are thought to make up about 80 percent of the stars in the Milky Way. Red dwarfs generally have not been considered viable candidates for hosting habitable planets, but the study, based on data from the European Space Agency’s HARPS spectrograph in Chile, used a sample of 102 red dwarfs to estimate that 41 percent of the dim stars might be hiding planets in their habitable zone.