A new model of the universe suggests there could be as many as 700 quintillion other planets out there, and Earth doesn’t look like any of them.
This is huge news because it runs contrary to everything we know about our place in the universe.
Back in the early 1500s, Nicolaus Copernicus figured out that the Earth wasn’t at the center of the solar system. From then on, the more we learned about the universe, the more clear it became that Earth is cosmically insignificant — an idea called the Copernican Principle.
The Kepler Space Telescope has found 32 other planets that, like Earth, sit in the habitable zone around their stars. If you extrapolate those numbers to all the stars we know about, there should be between 40 billion and 49 billion other potentially habitable planets in the Milky Way galaxy alone. And the Milky Way is just one of an estimated 100 billion galaxies.
Looks like we’re alone after all.