NASA’s Kepler spacecraft has discovered an extraordinary planetary system with six rocky worlds capable of supporting life about 2000 light years from Earth.
I am sure that there will be a lot of news about it, but here’s NASA’s news page.
This discovery raises these questions, which are partially addressed in my “Cool Science” book, Astrobiology:
(1) If a planet is capable of supporting life, does that mean it has life?
(2) Are any of these planets capable of supporting advanced multi-cellular life–and how will we detect it?
(3) Are any of these planets capable of supporting intelligent life–and how will we detect it?
Too bad it’s too far away to study more directly, but Kepler is far from finished observing that remarkable extrasolar system.
While you await more news, you might want to read my review of The Crowded Universe by Alan Boss.