A meteorite that recently landed close to a city in Sri Lanka may be "the most important scientific discovery in the last 500 years" since it brought "compelling evidence of life" from space.
On the Island website, Walter Jayawardhana quotes one of the scientists who discovered the contents of the meteorite as saying, "We report here the first compelling evidence for life existing outside the earth." This supports the theory that life came to Earth (and maybe other planets as well) by hitchhiking on asteroids from far corners of the universe.
Some astronomers predict (NOTE: Subscribers can still listen to this show) that we will discover the first Earth-like planet in 2013.
On the ITHP website, planetary scientist Abel Mendez writes: "The NASA Kepler mission is getting closer to finding an Earth-like planet. In fact, they recently released a large dataset with some possible detections that need to be sorted out. It is expected that this will happen sometime in 2013. There are no guarantees, but things are moving really fast now in the 'exoplanet hunting' field due to a load of data.
"What we mean by finding and Earth-like planet is just that it has a similar mass, size, and temperature as Earth. This is not a guarantee that it has water, a breathable atmosphere, or even life. These are the questions for the next years, probably decades." But testing an exoplanet for life is totally out of our capabilities now and it will probably be impossible until far in the future (subscribe today for two years and you'll get a FREE crop circle calendar!)
"I think that both the detection of extraterrestrial life and the colonization of space are exciting prospect for studying the planets in our Solar System and beyond. I expect that humanity will move forward to the universe someday, out of my lifetime, but I hope to live to the first detection of extraterrestrial life, if any."