Remember Gliese 581g? That recently discovered planet that had some scientists, and other hopeful stargazers, claiming certain knowledge that we are not alone in the universe? Well, Athena Andreadis gave us a gentle reality check last week, and this week we’ve been given a swift kick with the reality boot. The ‘Goldilocks Planet’ isn’t just unlikely to sustain life as we know it, the planet itself may not even exist except as ‘noise’ in its discoverers’ data.
So we should remain skeptical about claims that we’ve detected a signal from somewhere in the vicinity of Gliese 581g. But even if ET isn’t phoning our home, it’s still fun and wise to question our own significance in the universe.