scientists believe not only are there potentially many more
earth-like planets in the universe,
some of them could be home to alien life.
"It's highly improbable in the limitless vastness of the universe that we humans stand alone,"
NASA Administrator Charles Bolden said.
This year, NASA's Kepler Space Telescope
discovered an Earth-like planet in the "habitable zone" of another
star and is hailed as the first discovery of an Earth-size planet orbiting in the habitable zone of a star.
"Astronomers think it is very likely that every single star in our Milky Way galaxy has at least one planet,"
Said Sara Seager, professor of planetary science and physics at Massachusetts Institute of
Technology. "Sometime in the near future, people will be able to point to a star and say, 'that star has a planet like Earth.'"
The launch of the James Webb Space Telescope in 2018,
will give NASA's planet-hunting mission an extra boost. The new
Telescope is designed to study infrared light, making it easier to spot extrasolar planets.
"To find evidence of actual life is going to take another generation of telescopes," Matt Mountain, director of the Space Telescope Science Institute, said. "And to do that, we're going to need new rockets, new approaches to getting into space, new approaches to large telescopes -- highly advanced optical systems."