There could be one hundred billion Earth-like planets in our galaxy, a US conference has heard.I wonder, the day scientists find evidence of any type of lifeforms on another planet, whether it's in our solar system or not, what will the response of organized religion be?
Dr Alan Boss of the Carnegie Institution of Science said many of these worlds could be inhabited by simple lifeforms.
But, based on the limited numbers of planets found so far, Dr Boss has estimated that each Sun-like star has on average one "Earth-like" planet.
This simple calculation means there would be huge numbers capable of supporting life.
"Not only are they probably habitable but they probably are also going to be inhabited," Dr Boss told BBC News. "But I think that most likely the nearby 'Earths' are going to be inhabited with things which are perhaps more common to what Earth was like three or four billion years ago." That means bacterial lifeforms.
Recent work at Edinburgh University tried to quantify how many intelligent civilisations might be out there. The research suggested there could be thousands of them.
And what if they are able to cover it up?