Will We Meet E.T.?

Most scientists used to believe that we would eventually encounter extraterrestrial life, even if it were microscopic. Now they're not so sure

We've come a long way since 1600, when Giordano Bruno, a defrocked priest from Naples, was burned at the stake for espousing, among other things, his belief that there might be other worlds and other life-forms beyond Earth. In our Star Trekking age, it's now almost heretical not to believe in extraterrestrial life--a belief that will surely be fortified by last week's announcement of the discovery of two Saturn-size planets around two distant stars.

Polls show that 54% of Americans are convinced that there are aliens out there, to say nothing of the significant fraction (30%) who suspect we've already been...

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