Of the 150,000 stars in our Milky Way galaxy snapped by the NASA probe in the past three years, more than 3,000 planets have been identified. Scientists then focused on the stars similar to our Sun and tried to find planets between one and two times the size of Earth in those stars’ Goldilocks orbital zones.

Their findings suggest that 22 per cent of those stars had planets about the size of Earth that could harbor liquid water – a basic building block for life as we know it. The team said the actual total could be much higher given the difficulty involved in finding them. Kepler relies on seeing planets pass directly in front of the target star on the same orbital plane as the telescope.

Galaxy is CRAMMED with EARTHLIKE WORLDS – plus, possibly ALIENS • The Register.