Frank Drake brings some realism to the S.E.T.I. debate. The space-time distances are a huge hurdle, and the challenges of becoming a spacefaring civilization make the journey to nearby star systems fairly impractical at the moment.
The less evidence and fewer data points there are, the more rampant the speculation, inventive the Sci-Fi imaginings, and important the foundation to create such new fields of knowledge.
There’s been an explosion of private entrepreneurship and NASA partnership lately (loosened regulations and better incentives) to help get cargo (things and people) into space much more cheaply than before.
What’s it like to be on a spacewalk? In some ways, pretty normal and pretty not normal, apparently: Just pace yourself, focus, and get the job done in an unwieldy suit while you hover between everything you’ve ever known and an incomprensible abyss.
In addition to recent rapid advances in ‘seeing’ with radio waves, gravity waves and light, and we’ve got better tools to get a little further out into our own neighborhood.