The public and news media should keep in mind that science is a system of organized skepticism. And it's that way for a good reason; skepticism keeps us from drawing unwarranted conclusions from what we observe.
Signal detected by SETI researchers could have come from someplace much closer to home.
In the three-way horse race to prove that biology is not just a terrestrial aberration, there's one steed that many people ignore: sampling the air of distant planets to see if they contain the exhaust gases of life, or in the jargon of astrobiologists, biosignatures.
"We really do know that pretty much every star in the sky hosts at least one planet," says astronomer Adam Frank.