It appears that’s what NASA has been doing recently, and they have their collective eyes on some seriously expensive real estate. Trappist-1 is all over the news. Primarily, because the system has three, count em, THREE planets in the sweet spot.
The star is hydrogen burning and in its infancy. Meaning, that if there isn’t life there now, there could be. The recipe is there.
As fiction writers, we tend to write humanoid alien life for a reason. There are limits to romance. The likelihood that alien life would look anything like us is so remote as to be almost laughable. Humans only have a face because one of our early ancestors needed a face, so the evolutionary ball rolled that way. It could have gone a million other ways.
In fact, it’s improbable that any life on another planet would resemble life here. However, a few things are required for life to evolve to intelligence. The alien body structure would require brain capacity, in whatever form they evolved.
Gravity would determine the kind of predator that would survive to evolve, though they would need to be capable of mobility to hunt. Bipedal hunters would evolve in lighter gravity. They would not necessarily be carbon based beings. They would be based on the matter that makes up their world.
The big deal about Trappist-1 is that NASA finally has a test subject, a neighborhood to shoot for to look for this alien life we’ve always fantasized about. That is very exciting, and it’s going to lead to big things, if we pursue it.
Mainly because, if we want to meet the neighbors, we’re gonna need a bigger boat. It’s gonna get interesting around here one way or another.