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.
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.
As I arrive at the Kennedy Space Center Visitor Complex, I spot the full-size mock-up of a space shuttle looking ready to launch. It has the orange twin solid rocket boosters on either side of it and is 184 ft. tall. During the tour I find out that Atlantis flew 125,935,769 miles in space. Wow!
Sometimes astronomers release images that most people wouldn't look at twice. This saddens me because the science behind these images is usually mind-blowing. So with that in mind, here are my top five unimpressive images from space, and why they're actually amazing.
To get the project off the ground (pardon the pun) we will be sending 2kg of rocket seeds to the International Space Station as part of British ESA astronaut Tim Peake's six-month mission. After several months on board, orbiting the planet at 17,000mph, the seeds will be returned to Earth and sent to thousands of UK schools...
In one experiment, using a single particle of light, scientists for the first time linked thousands of atoms in quantum entanglement, where the behavior of the atoms would stay connected even if they were at opposite ends of the universe.
It is no secret that this very moment is perhaps the most fortunate time to start a business in recent times, in Britain.
Astronomers have just found nothing. Hold the front page! Actually, they have found so much nothing that it made the news. This nothing is in space, w...
I propose that we look to the ocean to seek inspiration and knowledge to accelerate our space age frontier. My vision is to engage the marine and space research communities with subsea infrastructure and offshore industry to create a permanent human presence in our ocean.
Where we diverged in opinion with the opposition was both on calculating the cost of space exploration and on calculating the true cost that neglecting to progress into the cosmos would bring to humanity.
If we are truly to achieve the science of tomorrow that will help us overcome the problems of today, we need to be bold. We need to be brave. We need to dare to dream. Beagle 2 reminds us to keep the dream alive. As for tomorrow, who knows? Let's keep dreaming.
So essentially, those human-shaped amoebas that inhabit the Big Brother house at present may actually be humanity's best hope for life on another planet.
Imagine: whole alien civilisations could have formed, progressed, and reached levels of technological prowess that'd make the iPhone look like a paper clip. All before we even worked out that there was more to life than chasing mammoths and rolling large boulders down hills.
One of my college lecturers challenged us with what felt like an impossible task - take a picture of the curvature of the Earth, using items costing less than £100.
One of the things that has inspired me in 2014 has been scientific advancements beyond our atmosphere: from the continued work on the International Space Station, to Curiosity's exploits on Mars and Philea's historic bumpy landing on an asteroid - surely the stuff of science fiction!
By blindly insisting the creation myth of the Semitic tribes who became the Jewish people is fact - and telling children it is a valid alternative to the Big Bang - evangelical Christians are attributing to God the lack of imagination that cripples their own view of both humanity and the wider universe.