The known odds of something — or someone — living far, far away from Earth improved beyond astronomers’ boldest dreams on Monday.
One out of every five sunlike stars in the galaxy has a planet the size of Earth circling it in the Goldilocks zone — not too hot, not too cold — where surface temperatures should be compatible with liquid water, according to a herculean three-year calculation based on data from the Kepler spacecraft by Erik Petigura, a graduate student at the University of California, Berkeley.
The "Goldilocks Zone" -- I like that, although I might have tried for a better name. (I guess it comes from the fact that she was always looking for "just right" porridge and a "just right" bed.) If conditions are suitable for life on billions of planets, surely life will have begun on at least some of them. And that's just in our galaxy. In the universe there would be trillions, a number that's difficult to even grasp unless we're talking about the federal debt.
It's interesting to bring this subject up in conversation. I've found that most people either absolutely believe there is life elsewhere or are positive there isn't. There aren't many who are wishy washy on the subject, although it's one of the great unknowns you can't prove one way or the other. Count me among the optimists who think there must be life somewhere out there.
Or maybe a pessimist, if you thin ET won't exactly be benign.