Well, this is promising.
A new life form: the microorganism GFAJ-1. While there's nothing extraterrestrial about these little bacteria, it's exciting to see we've grown a species that can handle arsenic instead of phosphorus. New potential for where we might find life just opened up. As the NYT reports, "organisms could exist elsewhere in the universe or even here on Earth using biochemical powers we have not yet dared to dream about."
In the (almost) fourteen years since my father passed, scientists have discovered an ever growing number of extremophiles and exoplanets. How excited he'd be by these finds, how invigorated.
We may still be far from answering that "Are we the only intelligent life?" question, but we live in a time where the universe is crackling with possibility.