I can’t too excited just yet. The Kepler telescope can’t actually see planets. It has a photometer instrument which looks at stars. It measures small changes in brightness which might be caused by one of the star’s planets making a transit in front of the star. (False positives can be caused by variable stars, but false positives can be weeded out by various means.) Data collection is just the beginning. It’s the data analysis that makes the projection of potential planets, since Kepler isn’t actually looking at planets.
After analyzing the data, what it’s looking for is planets in the goldilocks zone—i.e., not too close to the star and not to far away. Just at the right distance from the star to have the potential for liquid water—which Kepler cannot measure in any case.
So even with all these variables and analysis, the astronomers find a number of possible planets in the potentially habitable zone. That doesn’t mean they support life or that they have life. Just that they might be able to.
One astronomer estimated (mathematically) that within 1,000 light years of earth, there could possibly be 30,000 habitable planets.
Maybe God intended them for us to expand into.