The search for the superhabitable earth is on. It was not long ago commenting that there may be many earths out there would get you laughed out of any serious conference. Scientists are now on the hunt for the super earth that may just be more habitable than our own planet. They believe they have found the place in space where they may be located.
NASA is launching a new space telescope in the next few years that will better test the composition of planets. At present, we can only determine the outer atmosphere and whether or not they are in the habitable zone. New telescopes may actually be able to get some sense of what is under the initial atmospheric shell.
We may also look at a private enterprise to colonize Mars. The goal is to send individuals on a one-way trip in one of the very first colonization efforts of another planet. Mars has extreme conditions but if the colony is successful it could start as a model for other locations.
No one knows where all of this will lead in the future. Technology is making long distance space flight possible even though the costs can be excessive. If we view how technology and our efforts have changed over the past five decades, we should be astounded by the possibilities. As we continue to learn and develop, what was once seen as Sci-Fi is all too real.
Heller, R. & Armstrong, J. (2014). Superhabitable worlds. Astrobiology. Retrieved January 19th from http://arxiv.org/abs/1401.2392