I thought that life on Earth was partly possible because of Jupiter hoovering up all the stray planet-smashers for long enough to let something more complex than bacteria to have a chance of hauling up out of the ooze.
Plus, the impact early on with a near-earth-sized planet in the same orbit that gave rise to our abnormally large moon and gained Earth enough mass to hold onto a substantial atmosphere (not to mention the spinning iron core generating a strong magnetic field to deflect nasty stuff).
So, might I suggest that scientists first start considering *only* those solar systems where a large Jupiter-like planet exists, otherwise there'd be nothing but large rocks that hve been repeatedly used for asteroid and comet target practice. Some how I don't think that just picking a random 'grain of sand' is going to be too successful, even just to run a spectrographic analysis of any nacent atmosphere present to work out if there's water vapour, oxygen, and other signs of respiration in the biosystem.
- Asteroids as powerful as NUCLEAR BOMBS strike Earth TWICE YEARLY
- Review Ubuntu 14.04 LTS: Great changes, but sssh don't mention the...
- Got Windows 8.1 Update yet? Get ready for YET ANOTHER ONE – rumor
- Patch iOS, OS X now: PDFs, JPEGs, URLs, web pages can pwn your kit
- HTC mulls swoop for Nokia's MASSIVE Chennai plant