WASHINGTON — NASA’s planet-hunting telescope has found 10 new planets outside our solar system that are probably the right size and temperature to potentially have life on them, broadly hinting that we are probably not alone.
After four years of searching, the Kepler telescope has detected a total of 49 planets in the “Goldilocks Zone.” And it looked only in a tiny part of the galaxy, one-quarter of one percent of the galaxy.
Seven of the 10 Earth-size planets circle stars that are just like ours. That doesn’t mean the planets have life, but some of the most basic requirements that life needs are there, increasing the chances.
‘‘Are we alone? Maybe Kepler today has told us indirectly, although we need confirmation, that we are probably not alone,’’ Kepler scientist Mario Perez said.
Outside scientists agreed that this is a boost in the hope for life elsewhere.
‘‘It implies that Earth-size planets in the habitable zone around sunlike stars are not rare,’’ Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb, who was not part of the work, said in an e-mail.
The 10 Goldilocks planets are part of 219 new candidate planets that NASA announced Monday as part of the final batch of planets discovered in the main mission since the telescope was launched in 2009.