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NASA’s Kepler Space Telescope probe, which was launched in 2009, has identified a total of 1,235 potential alien planets, including 54 that are in what scientists call the habitable zone.
The scientists have estimated that these 54 planets are at the right distance from there sun and could support water in liquid form and possibility life. 15 of these possible planets have been confirmed as discoveries by ground based telescopes.
The spacecraft measures the telltale dips in a star's brightness that occur during these planetary "transits" to identify possible planets. The American space agency had launched the $600 million Kepler observatory to identify planets circling distant stars.
Kepler focuses on a single patch of sky and measures changes in light emitted by starts. Gound based observatories then follow up by determining if the objects are stars and revolving planets.
Based on findings of the spacecraft experts have estimated that there are as many as 50 billion alien planets in the Milky Way galaxy and 2 billion of these are about the size of the Earth.