The latest several years have seen the confirmed discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other stars, with thousands more awaiting confirmation. No Earth-like planets have been found yet, but astronomers are convinced that's only a matter of time. Recently, a planet has been found in the Alpha Centauri system-- right next door-- and other worlds may yet be found there.
Back on Earth, various nations are moving ahead with space programs, including plans for manned flight, as reported in this blog, Several governments and space agencies have also expressed interest in joining an international lunar base program. Private enterprise is also developing big plans for expanding the human economy well beyond Earth, incorporating extraterrestrial resources into an expanding sphere of economic activity,
We may be witnessing the initial stirrings of a spacefaring civilization. Working out the kinks, establishing the fundamental principles that will guide such a civilization, will take time-- perhaps centuries-- but the glimmerings to be seen now are both suggestive and encouraging.