It now appears that as many a 10% of rocky planets in the universe may have moons like our own. This configuration is essential for the development of higher life forms because the rotating moon retards orbital winds on the dominant planet. Without the influence of the nearby moon, those winds would blow at a continuous speed upwards of 200 MPH. This finding means that there are billions of such planets in our galaxy alone. It completely changes the equation regarding higher life forms, making them statistically much more probable.
Using computer simulations of planet formation, researchers have now shown that the type of impact that resulted in our moon may be quite common. It also makes another thing clear: movement between stars by intelligent species must be extremely rare, or highly regulated by some unknown extraterrestrial authority. Otherwise, visits to earth would almost certainly be commonplace.
Or maybe other planetary civilizations have had the same sort of history we have: In 1998, a mysterious man that Whitley Strieber calls the Master of the Key burst into his hotel room in Toronto and told him all kinds of things he didn't know--but when he checked them out later, he found out they were TRUE. (The new, UNCENSORED edition of The Key, with a foreword that talks about how many of his statements later turned out to be true, is in bookstores NOW). One of the few things that Whitley could NOT check out was MOTKE's provocative statement that we are stuck on this planet because the parents of the child who would have given us the ability to travel into space was killed in the holocaust!
In BBC News, Jason Palmer quotes astronomer Sebastian Elser as saying, "Checking for the possibility of an obliquity-stabilizing moon is a good thing if you're trying to find out how many habitable worlds are out there in the galaxy, but it's surely not the only one and not the most important." Palmer quotes astronomer Eiichiro Kokubo as saying that the result an "interesting estimate," but he cautioned that there are several as-yet unknown parameters "which greatly affect lunar formation and evolution and thus the probability of hosting a large moon. I think we should take the paper as a trial calculation based on what we know about formation of terrestrial planets and moons today."