It seems that every other month or so, humans/some extraordinary super telescope, discover another exoplanet that meets the criteria to support life (as we know it), it feels a little surprising that this is so surprising. Estimates range, but a conservative number for the amount of stars, just in our mediocre sized galaxy, is two hundred Billion, with at least an equivalent number of planets.
The word distance fails to deliver when discussing the `space´ that exists out there. Just in our average sized solar system there are vast distances, though very, very tame indeed considering deep space. Our galaxy is determined to be ca 100,000 light years in diameter, which essentially means that if I were to stand at one end, and you at the other, and you were to turn on a flashlight, I would have to wait 100,000 years before that light reached me, even though it would have been travelling at 300,000 kilometres `a second´, for all of that time.
But such distances no longer carry the wow effect of yore, for among the many ills that reckless monetary practises have inflicted upon mankind, the desensitisation that we have developed to what are incomprehensibly astronomical numbers has to be way up there on the list, for example, Jupiter is very far away, but still not quite one Billion kilometres away.
So two hundred Billion planets, again, just in our galaxy, in a universe with hundred´s of Billions of galaxies, equals.., well it equals a `lot´ of planets, it equals a universe packed with trillions and trillions and trillions of planets. That Earth is the only planet among those fierce numbers to have fostered not just life, but intelligent, conscious life, would have to be the greatest long shot in all of creation.
It´s fairly well accepted now that every single subatomic particle in the universe all spawned from one subatomic particle, ca fifteen billions years ago. So to believe that life has only developed on just one of those infinite amount of tiny pieces is nothing short of fantastical. Unless of course, that there is no intelligent life anywhere else in this universe, and that Earth was seeded with life from an intelligence of an ulterior universe.
Either way, we have to agree that wether or not we ever hold in our grasp irrefutable proof of extra terrestrial intelligence, Earth being the one and only grain of sand, of all the beaches and deserts, anywhere on the planet, not just to have fostered life, but to be `saturated´ with all kinds of it, is a hell of a thing, and quite possibly the most hell of a thing in the Universal story.