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It took decades of developing theories and accumulating evidence before the Big Bang idea was even warmly thought of, but the detection of the cosmic microwave background forced even the most truculent astronomers to grudgingly accept it.
With the recent discovery of a possible Earth-like planet around a star in our cosmic backyard, tantalizing new questions are being raised about the possibility of finding life elsewhere in the universe.
It's not often that you can get promoted, commended and even awarded for failing to do your job. But that's just what happened to the discoverers of the key evidence supporting the Big Bang theory.