It wasn’t so long ago we thought our solar system housed the only planets in the galaxy. From a consciousness perspective, the arguments about whether or not other planets existed were powerfully connected to the belief in the specialness of human life and that the whole of creation is about human life on planet earth.
So it wasn’t surprising that when they did finally find exoplanets (planets other than those in our solar system) that many people’s first response was, ‘yes, but they can’t support life’. Which was true, but only because at that time the technology we had could only detect planets by noticing the effect of the gravity of the planet upon its star. This meant the only planets we could see at that time were the extremely large ones, something like our Jupiter.
Now NASA has found a planet, Kepler 452b, in the ‘Goldilocks’ zone; not too cold, and not too hot. It is also a rocky planet, meaning it has a solid mantle, like ours. So there is the chance it can support life not too dissimilar from ours. There is, of course, an argument underway as to whether or not this is possible. The planet is 1400 light years away so we’re not going to be visiting it anytime soon and answering these questions is still tricky.
I’m sure, in time, we will find other life-supporting planets, if not this one then another one. Which wll be one more tangible step in the awareness of the collective consciousness that life is more than we know and existence isn’t confined to our planet.