The Milky Way contains at least 100 billion planets, or enough to have one for each of its stars, and many of them are likely to be capable of supporting conditions favorable to life, according to a new estimate from scientists at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena, California (Caltech).
That specific figure of 100 billion planets has been suggested by earlier, separate studies, but the new analysis corroborates the earlier numbers and may even add to them…
“There’s room for these numbers to really grow,” said Jonathan Swift, a Caltech astronomer who is the lead author on a paper on the new findings, in a phone interview…
…[O]verall, the chances of life on such planets are good, because they and their parent stars are likely to be much older and longer-lasting than Earth’s Sun, between two and 10 billion years. That’s because they sip less fuel over time.
So in the future, when Earth’s Sun begins to run out of fuel after another 4 billion years, any intelligent life still on the planet would do well to migrate to a system like Kepler 32.
“This star will be there when the last Sun-like stars die,” [co-author of the study] Johnson concluded.
Note that the lead author of the Caltech study is named Jonathan Swift. As for the earlier, literary Swift, see this:
Swift made reference to the moons of Mars about 150 years before their actual discovery by Asaph Hall, detailing reasonably accurate descriptions of their orbits, in the 19th chapter of [Gulliver’s Travels] (that is, in Part 3, Chapter 3)…
Voltaire was presumably influenced by Swift: his 1750 short story Micromégas, about an alien visitor to Earth, also refers to two moons of Mars.
Swift crater, a crater on Mars’s moon Deimos, is named after Jonathan Swift.
[ADDENDUM: This seems related.]