Another rover is about to be launched to Mars. Each time, I cringe at the wonderful event, wondering if the rocket will instantly flip and spike like in those early space-program films. Then, after the usually-not-that-exciting launch, there is the long wait until we get to Mars. Months. Usually a …

This is a tiny corner of the universe. An edge-on galaxy. A weird, torn-up blue one (blue because young) down at the bottom. An egg in the sky upper-left. There are billions of these islands out there, each containing billions of stars. Can you honestly believe that intelligent life has …