Everybody is so excited about Gliese 581! The headlines say things like... “Scientists find most Earth-like planet yet!”
And they go on to say things like... "this planet will most probably be a very important target of future space missions."
Really? Future space missions? Maybe EXTREMELY distant future space missions. Do the people writing this crap have any notion how far away this planet is? First keep this in mind: so far our record for traveling in space is 1.3 billion miles. (And that's in orbit.) Now look, a light year is about 6 trillion miles. So we are talking about a planet 120 Trillion miles away. A distance I regrettably believe we will never ever come close to traveling. And yet 120 Trillion miles is a laughably short distance to travel and expect to find the incredible combinations of factors that can produce life. Looking to Gliese 581 for life is akin to looking for the holy grail in your pockets.
Don't get me wrong. I say keep looking, keep reaching, dreaming, spending whatever it takes. But I just want to remind everyone that our sun is like a grain of sand on an inconceivably large beach and we haven't made it a mentionable fraction of the distance to even our neighboring grain of sand.
Read about it at World-Science.net