Last week, NASA announced
that the most Earth-like exoplanet had been discovered. Using data from the now disabled Kepler telescope, researches found Kepler-186f in a star system about 500 light-years away.
To me, it's interesting and exciting for a number of reasons. One, it's the nearest planet in size to our own, meaning the technology has advanced to the point where we're no longer limited to finding either massive Jupiter on steroids sized gas planets or the "super Earths" that are probably rocky in nature but still alot bigger than our little blue dot in space. And secondly, the host star is a red dwarf star. That type of star makes up approximately 70% of all stars in our galaxy. So if this particular star has a multi-planet system (four confirmed at least, there may be more that just hasn't been found in the huge collection of data Kepler gathered) that means that planetary formation is likely very common in our galaxy. And if planets forming around a star is the norm rather than the exception, the chances of us finding life outside of Earth goes up by huge magnitudes.
Plus it's nice to have stories like this occasionally I think to remind us that humanity is made up of the same elements that forms that newly discovered planet. The universe is part of us, and by understanding it we ultimately understand ourselves.