Thanks to a number of people for dropping me a line about this – I’d have caught it in the daily news-trawl anyway, but it’s flattering to know that you care about my coverage!
So, yes; Earth-like exoplanet spotted. Lot’s of poor journalism about though, which I’ll not bother linking to. For the more detailed facts of the matter, I refer you on to the ever-reliable Centauri Dreams, which discusses what is known for certain (and what is mere conjecture) about the planet and the solar syastem it is situated in, and then looks at the potential of the planet as an environment habitable to humans.
Of course, not everyone is particularly impressed by this – transhumanist philosopher Michael Anissimov believes (with some justification) that we should use our time and effort more effectively, and stop getting excited about other planets until we’ve properly addressed the issues and potentials of the one we find ourselves on already.
That difference in attitudes throws an interesting light on the post I just made about modern (and post-modern) science fiction themes, come to think of it. While I’m overjoyed that we’re exploring space (albeit only by telescope at the moment), I’d dearly like to see a lot more focus on issues closer to home – though not at the expense of the gosh-wow space stuff, if at all possible. Yes, I’ll have my slice of hypocrisy cake and eat it, thanks. 😉
[This post adapted and expanded from an original at Futurismic, because I don’t have the time to write things out twice if I can possibly avoid it. Shout-outs for news alerts to Jetse and Ariel – thanks, guys.]