by Kelly Vance
This week, "There's No Place Like Home?": Once upon a time, astronomers who wanted to search for planets rather than stars were regarded as marginal types, obsessed with little green men. These days that perception has changed, but unfortunately, with such closer-to-Earth adventures as space shuttles and the Iraq war dominating the agenda, there's no budget to do anything more than look -- the human race is sticking closer to home. That, however, isn't stopping a few Bay Area scientists from seeking out water-laden rocky planets where life may exist. Staff writer Kara Platoni discovers that extra-terrestrials are less mysterious than ever before in the second part of her series, "In Search of Life."