Riffing off of Shawn’s post (and resurfacing after a busy summer): Many people think that astrobiology will be a failure if we don’t find life out there. Not so!
Astrobiology is not a quest for a “holy grail”. The way I view it, astrobiology is a scientific attempt to test the hypothesis that we are alone, and to understand the underlying reasons for whatever it is that we find. Whatever the answer – whether we are alone or part of a Universe teeming with life – it will shape our perspective on how humanity fits into the Universe.
How so? Consider