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Are We Alone in the Universe?

Now that we know that astronauts have seen UFOs, how is SETI, the organization that is SUPPOSED to be trying to contact alien life, doing?

There's actually good news: the steady discovery of giant planets orbiting stars other than our sun has heightened speculation that there could be Earth-type worlds in nearby planetary systems capable of sustaining life. Now researchers think they may have found four nearby solar systems that contain giant planets about the size of Jupiter have found one that could have formed an Earth-like planet with the right conditions to support life. A second planetary system has been discovered that is likely to have a belt of rocky bodies the size of Mars or smaller.

Astronomer Rory Barnes says, "It's exciting that our models show a habitable planet, a planet with mass, temperature and water content similar to Earth's, could have formed?"

Meanwhile, SETI head Seth Shostak reports that they haven't given up hope: the fact that they have not picked up any radio "chatter" from other worlds does not mean that we are alone in the cosmos.

In space.com, Shostak says, "The number of star systems we've carefully examined is only about a thousand. That's a trifling sample compared with the several hundred billion suns that stud the Milky Way, and of little statistical significance. It's comparable to initiating a quest for Americans who play the oboe, but considering the search meaningful after interrogating only two people?In my opinion, the reason that SETI hasn't yet succeeded is simple: we've just begun to look."

Art credit: gimp-savvy.com

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