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Comment "Inhabited" or "Inhabitable?" (Score 4, Insightful) 114

FTA:

He said that the ultimate goal for exoplanet researchers was to find habitable Earth-like and Mars-like planets.
(emphasis added)

While we all crack wise about the bizarro planet of our science fiction dreams, it bears pointing out that the point of the program is ostensibly to find other inhabitable planets--that is, potential sites for future human expansion, rather than other inhabited planets. The difference between the two is not insignificant, and is a nod to the somewhat conservative view that while it may prove impossible to find another planet like the Earth where life has evolved concurrently with our own, it is nevertheless very realistic to search for another planet like the Earth where life could thrive.

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