Which of course prompts even more speculation that we’re not alone in the universe. After all, if there are planets like this relatively close, it’s likely that there are even more like this farther away that we can’t see yet.
There’s only one reasonable response to this news; we must immediately begin preparations to deal with the inevitable alien threat to humanity.
Some people suggest that aliens will be peaceful; I doubt it. I think it’s far more likely that they’ll be agressive. An aggressive species would be more likely to develop the tech needed to get into space, and would need to expand (either for more territory, or to hedge against other factions) into space eventually; I don’t know that a peaceful species would have any reason to leave their home planet. What are they going to do, seek out new planets to be nice to everyone on them? An aggressive species would want more resources and more territory, and if we’re going to defend ourselves against evil resource and land hungry aliens, we had better get our shit together.
I don’t much relish the idea of future humans being enslaved by a race of galactic overlords; if anyone is going to be top dog (and someone has to be; a galactic UN seems incredibly unlikely, especially given how ineffective the strictly human UN is), I’d rather it be humanity and not the lizard men from the Horsehead Nebula.
And if politicians insist on nuclear disarmament (not that there’s anything left of our nukes after the aliens took them out (see? We need to hit them before they hit us (no, I don’t really think aliens have been deactivating our nukes)!)), we could end up facing a hostile alien race with nothing but our drive (and communications!) system for a weapon.
Disclaimer: No, I don’t think we’re in danger of imminent subjugation by evil aliens (or even by benevolent aliens), but we should be prepared at all times!