The are we alone question might be a step closer to receiving an answer, european astronomer have found a very earth-like planet orbiting Gliesse 581 a star 20.5 ly away from us in the constellation of libra (it is however too faint to be seen without a telescope). It's only 5 time the mass of earth (meaning the gravity is only 60% higher, high but not dramatically so) and might be composed of ice or rock like our earth. It's main attraction however is that this planet reside within a thin strip of space known as the habitable zone, a zone around a star where liquid water is possible. The temperature on the planet should be between 0 and 40 C which is very close to the temperature here on earth. Now we do not know if their is water on this planet but considering what we know about planet formation their should be.
Now if we add the ingrediant togheter and this make this planet quite likely to host life, or to at least be habitable. I hope further research focus on answering the question of water on this planet and on planning an expedition (robotic mission to start) there to be able to check directly for life. And if their is none, or if their is intelligent life we should prepare for a maned mission to this star system. This is really interesting news.