The Numbers Are Astronomical, Seth Shostak, Huffington Post
"So check out the Milky Way next time you're outside the glare of city lights, and ruminate on the thought that at least 33 billion habitable planets are somewhere up there. But that's just the local population. We can't see the entire universe, but the fraction we can see is studded with roughly 150 billion other galaxies; each with its own complement of habitable worlds. So the number of life-friendly planets that are currently in the part of the cosmos we can possibly observe is five thousand billion billion. That's a big number. It's bigger than the number of cells in all the people of Earth."
Keith's note: Think about it: these maps from the Star Wars and Star Trek Universes are now usable as illustrations of Kepler data. This is stunning news. What is baffling is how Ames PAO totally botched the release of this news - and the underwelming press release that NASA put out. This one discovery makes everything that Star Trek, Star Wars, and every other imagined universe envsioned now seem totally plausible. In some ways (read Seth's entire piece) it almost makes many of these fictional universes far more probable today than they were this morning before the news burst out on Twitter. There are now just so many damn planets out there that almost anything is possible. Yet NASA itself seems to be sound asleep when it comes to the profound ramifications of this news. Indeed, it looks like NASA really doesn't care.