We are all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars.
Posted 18 July 2013 - 02:58 AM
In the Zone: How Scientists Search for Habitable Planets
There is only one planet we know of, so far, that is drenched with life. That planet is Earth, as you may have guessed, and it has all the right conditions for critters to thrive on its surface. Do other planets beyond our solar system, called exoplanets, also host life forms?
Astronomers still don't know the answer, but they search for potentially habitable planets using a handful of criteria. Ideally, they want to find planets just like Earth, since we know without a doubt that life took root here. The hunt is on for planets about the size of Earth that orbit at just the right distance from their star – in a region termed the habitable zone.
"Space is big. Really big. You just won't believe how vastly, hugely, mind-boggingly big it is. I mean, you may think it's a long way down the street to the chemist, but that's just peanuts to space." - The Hitch-Hikers Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams 1952 - 2001
I would say based on the sheer number of galaxies there are in the one known universe, the odds favor finding more intelligent life out there. Its just a matter of time. Put me in the camp of people who think we have, and are being visited too, fwiw.