NASA has just released the latest result from the Kepler Telescope which is looking for planets around other stars:
* 1200 candidate planets (so far) - this is up from pre-Kepler exoplanet totals of about 500. * Most planets somewhere between Earth and Neptune size - a (predicted) change from the very early days of exoplanet hunting where most found where on the Jupiter scale or larger. * 54 candidates within their system's habitable zones - although only 1 under the size of Earth, 2 in the 'super-Earth' range. Other candidates could be orbited by moons of a size and composition to be habitable. * 170 multi-planet candidate systems - previously only one (Kepler-9) known before. Multi-planet systems allow the charecteristics of those planets to be pinned down precisely. * Kepler-11 has 6 confirmed planets (not just candidates) in orbit around it. * Planets displaying unpredicted densities, sizes, etc than what expected which will mean another rethink on the details of planetary formation. * If 54 candidates are all that is expected to be found per patch of sky similar to what Kepler is looking at that would still give 400 000 habitable systems. This is very likely to be a servre underestimate as planets in habitable zones require longer times to detect than the mission length of Kepler up to now.
And preferably a simulation that isn't lethal to us if actually real.
Well fair doos they (as opposed to journalist types) are only talking about it as being a planet that is capable of supporting life. That is one thing, a planet capable of supporting human life (not exactly the most resilient form of life this planet has produced) is a whole different kettle of fish.