today NASA announced that they confirmed (or at least theyre 99% sure) the existence of 1284 new planets (out of a total of 4302 possible planets) that were found by the kepler space telescope. if you guys arent familiar with the kepler telescope, it watches stars for a peculiar dim in their light, which is a tell tale sign that a planet orbiting it may be passing in front of it
before today, there was never enough substantial evidence to tell whether or not it was common for solar systems to have a lot of planets orbiting them. now, its obvious to science that solar systems like ours are actually pretty common; that there are, more than likely, more planets than stars
of the around 12k planets that were declared (probably) real, 550 if them could be rocky planets like earth. of these, about 9 of them orbit in the "goldilocks zone", and potentially have liquid water to support terrestrial life. theres future missions in the works to launch several new telescopes, which will examine star systems closer to ours, or be able to determine what kind of atmosphere a planet has
I was just reading about this last night! It's super exciting. And considering life developed fairly quickly and easily on Earth, it's very likely that there are planets out there with life like ours. I also read an article that stated that the likelihood of advanced life on other planets is (relatively) high within globular clusters. This is because the distance between star systems is a lot shorter than it is for our system (way out in the boonies of the milky way), and life on the planets within these clusters would be able to travel between systems a lot quicker than we would.