NASA has found at least 10 planets of Jupiter's mass that are floating in space, away from the light of a star, adding to the hundreds of billions of lone planets in Milky Way galaxy, a new study has revealed.
The newly discovered isolated planets, also called free-floating Jupiters by scientists, are located at about a distance of 10,000 to 20,000 light-years from Earth.
These planets are believed to be ejected from developing planetary systems, NASA said in a statement on Wednesday, indicating various possibilities of existence of life elsewhere.
When you eject a planet that is quite massive, it could have carried along an orbiting body, and that might be a more attractive possibility for life, David Stevenson at the California Institute of Technology in Pasadena was quoted as saying by journal Nature, which published the study results.
According to researchers, lower-mass planets like Earth should be ejected from their stars more often and are thought to be more common than free-floating Jupiters, the study led by Takahiro Sumi from Osaka University in Japan, said, highlighting possibilities of Earth-like situation on other planets too.
Scientists seem to have found major link to formation of planets and evolution through these lone worlds.
Free-floating planets have been predicted, they finally have been detected, holding major implications for planetary formation and evolution models, Mario Perez, exoplanet program scientist at NASA Headquarters in Washington, said.
Based on the study results, astronomers estimate that free planets would move through the galaxy in stable orbits around the galaxy's center, as sun in the Solar System do. It's also speculated that these planets are more common than stars in Milky Way galaxy, and perhaps other galaxies too.