I had a funny thought, and would like to pose it to you:
When I was a kid, reading any kind of astronomy or similar books would all say that there was no other life in the universe, and made it pretty clear that anyone thinking there could be was probably off his rocker.
Nowadays, it seems this has become a very important question for astronomers and other scientists, a new deep-seated belief that must now be proven. Some seem to think it would be the most important discovery of all time.
I'm wondering why?
My guess is, if we did 'discover' life on another planet, it'll make the news for a bit, and then the average person will go back to their every day life without much more thought about it.
For me, I would think this is great, only insofar as it means a possible new source of food (i.e., some delicious exotic cuisine assuming it's edible, and possibly even some place to go conquer and colonize if there was any profitability/money in doing so).
For some scientists, though, I get the sense it's more of an axe to grind with the long-dreary he-said she-said argument of science vs. religion.
Why do you think it would matter?
My question assumes any life discovered is probably not going to be very 'interesting' life, at least nothing we're going to have a conversation with.