When Mariner 4 snapped its pics of Mars in July 1965, the delusion of humans living on other planets should finally have died - but it didn't.
Bad ideas need perpetually teenage boys with bad arithmetic skills - an item never in short supply.
Now some astronomers are willing to bet their primary lens to support their belief that they have discovered an "Earth-like" planet, 100% certain to hold "Life".
I think they are being way way way too conservative - "Life" - if you mean simply bacteria - probably doesn't need anything as human-friendly as Earth to survive upon.
But if in fact - wink, wink/ nudge,nudge you really mean Life=Humans, and I think most of these scientists do mean that but lack the courage to say so, then I think they are dreaming in Technicolor.
Kool-Aid colored Technicolor.
Take GLIESTE 581G, a planet that astrophysicist Steven Vogt of the University of California at Santa Cruz says is 100% certain to contains "Life" and is also "Earth-like".
No taxpayer-elected politician in today's or tomorrow's Congress is going to blew trillions of dollars into the air , simply to see if some invisible bacteria are clinging to grains of sand deep in some gully on Glieste 581G, so the key to this press-announcement of professor Vogt is the really that magic-dust word ,"Earth-like".
We humans being hubris-ridden from birth, we instantly associate "Earth-like" with "humans-will-like-it-there".
Glieste 581G doesn't seem, on closer examination (albeit at a very great distance) to be a near-exact Earth-clone, which is what human-like life probably needs to survive and enjoy itself.
And distance from us ?
Well, its a 400 trillion kilometre trek to get there and back.
At about the fastest speed we have ever put an object into space (not one holding human cargo) that is a million year trip to get there and back.
One million years of deep space cosmic radiation falling upon the lucky human colony inside that Star Trek vehicle ----- won't the DNA in their sperm and eggs be well and truly fried by time they arrive !!
That is why I am an Earthling and why the Skygods are my sworn enemy: they all seem to be scientist-wannabes with too much calculus and not enough arithmetic....