Scientists at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory have confirmed there are now over 5,000 documented planets outside of our solar system.
The science behind finding these "exoplanets" is improving because of the Transiting Exoplanet Survey Satellite - launched in 2018 - and the recently-launched James Webb Space Telescope. NASA states there may be billions of exoplanets in our galaxy.
Wait, where is everyone? We've looked at 5,000+ plus planets and so far no Earth doppelganger and no other signs of life or civilizations. We'll just have to patiently hold our breath as we double our catalogue and scan the skies in the coming years.
This is a cosmic milestone! Astronomers have been combing the galaxy for 30 years and have assembled a catalogue of exotic worlds. At the current rate, and with the help of the Webb telescope, it's inevitable that we'll find some kind of life somewhere. It's an amazing time.
Let's not celebrate this. By the numbers, our universe should be teeming with intelligent life...but the silence is deafening. It may be that the vast majority of cosmic civilizations collapse - if they even evolve in the first place. If there's a "Great Filter" out there that inhibits long-term survival, odds are that we may not survive that much longer either.