Actually our search for life on another world is a pretty recent development if you disregard all the Area 51 stuff.
I've always been of the opinion that if advanced civilizations wanted to be found they would already be here so either they don't care or they're not advanced enough.
If they're not then the search for inhabitable worlds is really a search for other places for us to live.
Maybe like in the movie "Passengers".
NASA discovers a possible way out
The search for life in the universe just got a boost with a major discovery of seven Earth-like planets in our galactic back yard.
The exoplanets – so called because they are beyond our solar system — orbit a dim dwarf star called TRAPPIST-1, roughly the size of Jupiter, in the constellation Aquarius, scientists announced Wednesday.
The new worlds are less than 40 light-years away – a cosmic hop of about 235 trillion miles – and could yield clues about extraterrestrial life, astronomers said.
Three of them are in the “Goldilocks zone,” the sweet spot in the space where conditions are just right for water – and possibly life — to exist, according to NASA and a Belgian-led research team.~snip~