Friday night topic: Extraterrestrial life
NASA plans to start seeking out evidence of Earth-sized planets in other solar systems with the Kepler Mission next year. Being able to detect Earth-sized planets would be fascinating, and we might even find ones that could be hospitable to life. After all, considering the sheer number of stars that are present even in our own galaxy, it seems inevitable that there would be a good number of planets with the right parameters to harbor life. However, considering the sheer size of our galaxy, there may be no way for us to ever get to such places unless we somehow find a way to go faster than the speed of light. And even then, there's the issue of time. There were no civilizations on earth a few hundred thousand years ago, and there might not be anymore in another few hundred thousand years.
Do you think we'll ever be able to travel to other solar systems or even beyond? And if we do, do you think we'll be lucky enough to find intelligent life, or is it likelier that we'd be a few hundred thousand years too early or too late? Or are we forever stuck on Earth, doomed to have no contact with extraterrestrial life?