That's why Kepler 452 b has hit the headlines this week. It is the most Earthlike in these respects of the thousands of planets Kepler has identified. Its discovery strengthens the claim that there are literally billions of earth-like planets in our Milky Way galaxy with the size and temperature of our Earth.
Yes, I'm grateful that we have pioneers including Hawking and Milner who are willing to invest. But what about the more immediate problems on our doorstep that simply refuse to budge despite the policies, brain power, human capital and money we've thrown at it.
It still bothers me, as it would any emotionally healthy person, how do I reconcile my love for the scientific achievements of a man whose work killed so many. The answer, I assume, lie in the methods and scientific validity of his work.
Consider the following alternative. The forward-facing brain can almost certainly be traced back to the development of neural nets in all extremely simple organisms with bilaterian (symmetrical) body plans.
So, how does stress affect the brain? We seem to forget - certainly the audience was surprised to hear - that the stress response is an automatic survival response, designed to save our lives during life-threatening situations.
The idea of the arts and sciences as two separate endeavours devoid of a common purpose, (one devoid of creativity, the other of practicality) comprising differing measurable worth to opposing people is a fallacy that is relatively new.
As they appeared on the screen slice by slice I saw the brain's structures form and recede, changing from light to dark grey and black as the x-rays sliced through the different anatomical structures, as if for the first time. It set off a creative spark in me that continues to this day.
Animal research may not be something we want to think about when we take our medicines - but it is something necessary for those medicines to exist. Instead of trying to ban animal research, let's instead make sure that if we do it, we do it to world-class standards.
It's not only engineering skills that are developed by participating in student competitions. Working as part of a team on such an extensive project also helps to build transferrable skills such as team work, problem solving, critical thinking and communication; all vital in any future profession.
Many fantastic mental health charities exist, which influence policy, address public attitudes and provide vital support to people living with mental illnesses. However, such organisations rarely finance research and as a result, charitable funding in the mental health sector is virtually non-existent.
Despite Africa's impressive economic growth, there remains a damaging divide between business and scientific communities. Technical knowledge is not keeping pace with economic growth and businesses often bemoan the lack of local candidates with scientific and technological competences.
Today the International Space Station continues to host astronauts and cosmonauts from around the world. The vital agreement between the Russian and US space agencies for its operation has now been extended to run until 2024, despite political differences between the two nations.
The sinister-sounding drone is one of the more unloved technological developments, mostly due to scaremongering suggesting we're all being spied on from the skies. But some enterprising consumers are finding new and innovative ways to make use of drones, including these five unusual tasks for the flying cameras.
Rather than worrying about acid and alkaline foods as their own "food groups", if you simply eat a decent amount of fruits and vegetables (five a day springs to mind), you have nothing to worry about. Quite frankly, anyone who says you can change the pH of your blood needs to be immediately directed to a high school chemistry classroom.
The neutrality of the lab almost insulated us from a more toxic reality - women in science simply did not celebrate being women in science. But when you compare the STEM arena to politics and the arts, the culture is a little different - even at the undergraduate level.
We are asking researchers to work across national boundaries and subject disciplines bringing experimental, natural and social science together for the benefit of some of the world's most water poor societies. Our projects may not save the Gazan aquifer but we hope others will.