Thanks to Scott for bringing this one to my attention:
This, to me, is huge. Think about how long its been since the first extra-solar planet was found. Just a few years, right? And already we’ve gone from gas giants to the first rocky worlds.
I can’t help but think that this all but proves that there are other planets out there capable of sustaining life. We’ve looked a such a tiny percentage of the galaxy and we’re already finding planets. Its likely that eventually one (or dozens) will be found in the right ‘belt’ to have liquid water.
And while this doesn’t mean that there’s any other life out there, it does mean that there are horizons still to be explored.
It saddens me that I grew up with the Apollo program and the future held such promise and then…it just stopped. For 30 years the exploration of space crawled forward where it had been bounding before.
I truly hope that the kids who’re growing up with SpaceShipOne and other private space exploration endeavors see the excitment build and build, rather than dropping off. We need the room and the resources, but most of all, as a race, we need to keep exploring.