According to the very recent article pictured above, there is a very high likelihood that there is at least one habitable, Earthlike planet within 20 light years of Earth, and possibly more. The number of habitable planets out there may be a lot higher than our best guessers had been guessing.
It’s by no means certain that there’s a beautiful and fallow new Earth sitting next door (or as next door as interstellar distances get), but this is encouraging to wild-eyed dreamers like me. We could be one really good technological advance from going and taking a look.
If we don’t mind our grandchildren being the ones to look down on a new planet and decide whether or not it’s good to live on, we could go now. Or now-ish. I’d imagine it would take a couple or five decades, if we were so inclined and assuming our technology stays basically the same, to dig out the guts of an asteroid to make a decent sized generation ship habitat capable of carrying a few thousand people and go take a look. It could be enough to start a new Human Race franchise at a new location. It looks like the human population has been that small in the fairly recent past.
I’d sign up. But I’m guessing my family might want me to discuss it with them first…