Can we really be the only inhabited planet in the Universe? I really can't see it. It's almost inconceivable that out of billions of planets Earth is the only one capable of sustaining life. Rudimentary forms of life have been found in almost all extreme environments across the World so it's surely possible that nature has developed extra-terrestrially.
I'm not saying that we are part of some cosmic community of advanced civilisations bristling with Galaxy-class technology. If that was the case how come we haven't heard from any, a question lying at the heart of the Fermi Paradox. I personally would be quite happy with evidence of more modest fauna like Martian daphnia, Titanic algae or Ioan plankton, although I'd think twice before bringing them back to Earth!
Isn't a yearning for some cosmic neighbours the very essence of Sci-Fi, a desire to refute the idea that we are alone in the Universe? What do other readers think?