I'm so fascinated (as an uneducated layman) by space and cosmology but honestly most of it's way over my head because with questions like this I inevitably get bogged down in philosophy.
Like What is life? What is consciousness? What is intelligence?
That's before we even start talking about the practical hurdles like communicating, navigating or traversing the huge distances when we don't even know why our models are so out of touch with our observations (dark energy).
Two questions then.
1. From this side of the great filter.
How likely do you think it is that we could permanently escape earth and survive/flourish?
My guess given the current state of things is close to zero chance, but I'd love a more informed perspective.
2. From the other side of the great filter.
What do you think the difference in intelligence/capabilities would be if there was ever contact?
My gut feeling is it would be like an upside down bell curve or similar.
Probability close to 1 that Civilisation A is vastly, vastly ahead of Civilisation B curving down to close to 0 where both are about equal, then rising again to close to 1 where B is ahead of A.