The European Southern Observatory announced that according to their calculations there could be as many as 100 habitable planets within 30 light-years from Earth that would be able to sustain human life. That's right: if we could get there, we could easily turn them into hospitable places suitable for us to live on.
From the article by Lewis Page of The Register:
The implications are immense, as these hundred worlds are so close that it is possible to imagine ways of sending spacecraft to them - though such journeys would take many decades or even centuries under current assumptions. The prospect of interstellar colonisation - a staple of science fiction - has become hugely more likely.*
Perhaps still more importantly, the prospect of such worlds across the galaxy in the tens of billions suggests that even if the appearance of life on watery worlds is extremely unlikely, it has probably occurred somewhere else as well as here on Earth. We could be looking at one or two worlds with some primitive slime in their oceans, or thousands of aggressive star-conquering alien empires (who could - given the distances and numbers involved - all be unaware of each others' existence) but we're much less likely to be alone than we thought we were last week.
No matter what, this would seem to be a clear wake-up call to humanity to pull its head out of its - erm - navel, and look outward to the other zero-point-nine-recurring of the universe. It's not just pretty lights in the night sky: it's potentially home one day to the vast majority of human beings who will ever live - and perhaps to lots of other people too.
|Zoomable Poster on 50 Years of Space Exploration|
|What the Sun Looks Like in Different Wavelengths|
|"Their rocket honestly sounds like the punch line to a joke."|
|"We may now treat space as, along with so much else, a form of entertainment."|
|“It knows the very contours of my face.”|
|How to Avoid Jury Duty|
|The (Very Scary) People of Public Transit|
|“They created a dictatorship without mercy.”|
|If Sir David Attenborough Restored Vintage Toys|
|CaptchaTweet: Write Tweets in Captcha Form|
|“When Life Gives You Lemons.”|
|Recycled Vacuum Lamps|
|Fake Name Generator|
|Pat the Zombie: A Cruel Adult Spoof of 'Pat the Bunny'|
|“A two-legged robot created by Agility Robotics, designed to get your delivery from a car to your door.”|
|“The company is losing billions, has essentially no underlying value, and its business could be hammered overnight.”|