The planets are likely the right size and right temperature to support complex life.
The Kepler planet-searching telescope has detected nearly 50 such planets in one small part of the observable universe.
NASA said Monday its Kepler Space Telescope mission discovered 10 new rocky, Earth-like planets outside of our solar system which could support life.
“Are we alone? Maybe Kepler today has told us indirectly, although we need confirmation, that we are probably not alone,” said Kepler scientist Mario Perez.
Those 10 planets were orbiting suns at a similar distance to Earth’s orbit around the sun. This distance is considered the “Goldilocks Zone” – not too close, not too far away from the sun, just right to support life.
Seven of these planets were circling stars similar to our sun. This does not mean life of any complexity has been found on these planets, but the chances that Earth is the only planet that supports life are dwindling.
“It implies that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone around sun-like stars are not rare,” Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb wrote in an email to the AP news agency. Loeb was not part of the Kepler research team.
Kepler also discovered 209 other planets, scientists announced Monday.