Alien life

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Quotations about extraterrestrial life.


  • Our sun is one of 100 billion stars in our galaxy. Our galaxy is one of billions of galaxies populating the universe. It would be the height of presumption to think that we are the only living things in that enormous immensity.
    • Wernher von Braun, Text of the Address by von Braun Before the Publishers' Group Meeting, The New York Times Text of the Address by von Braun Before the Publishers' Group Meeting Here 29 April 1960 L. 20, column 2 Wells (April 29, 1960), l. 20, column 2.
  • Two possibilities exist: Either we are alone in the Universe or we are not. Both are equally terrifying.
  • If, for example, tomorrow an expedition of Martians came to us here and one said ‘I want to be baptised!’, what would happen? Martians, right? Green, with long noses and big ears, like in children’s drawings? When the Lord shows us the way, who are we to say, ‘No, Lord, it is not prudent! No, let's do it this way’. Who are we to close doors?
  • But who shall dwell in these worlds if they be inhabited? … Are we or they Lords of the World? … And how are all things made for man?
  • Can we and all nations not live in peace? In our obsession with antagonisms of the moment, we often forget how much unites all the members of humanity. Perhaps we need some outside, universal threat to make us recognize this common bond. I occasionally think how quickly our differences worldwide would vanish if we were facing an alien threat from outside this world. And yet, I ask you, is not an alien force already among us? What could be more alien to the universal aspirations of our peoples than war and the threat of war?
    • President Ronald Reagan, United Nations General Assembly, 21 September 1987.
  • Star Trek offers an almost infinite number of exciting Science Fiction stories, thoroughly practical for television? How? Astronomers put it this way:
Ff^2 (MgE) - C^1R1^1 x M = L/So
Or to put it in simpler terms, by multiplying the 400,000,000,000 galaxies (star clusters) in the heavens by an estimation of average stars per galaxy (7,700,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000), we have the approximate number of stars in the universe, as we understand it now. And so…
…if only one in a billion of these stars isa “sun” with a planet…
…and only one in a billion of these is of earth size and composition…
…there would still be something near 2,800,000,000,000,000,000,000,000,000 worlds with a potential of oxygen-carbon life…
or… (by the most conservative estimates of chemical and organic probability), something like three million worlds with a chance of intelligent life and social evolution similar to our own.
  • Since, in the long run, every planetary society will be endangered by impacts from space, every surviving civilization is obliged to become spacefaring — not because of exploratory or romantic zeal, but for the most practical reason imaginable: staying alive.
  • If it is just us, seems like an awful waste of space.
  • Kay: Bugs thrive on carnage, Tiger. They consume, infest and destroy. They live off the death and decay of other species.
Jay: So basically you have a racial problem with all insect-based life forms?
Kay: Listen, kid -- imagine a giant cockroach five times smarter than Albert Einstein, four times stronger than an ox, nine times meaner than hell, strutting his stuff around Manhattan Island in his brand new Edgar suit. Does that sound like fun?
  • I think the surest sign that there is intelligent life out there in the universe is that none of it has tried to contact us.
  • No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man's and yet as mortal as his own; that as men busied themselves about their various concerns they were scrutinised and studied, perhaps almost as narrowly as a man with a microscope might scrutinise the transient creatures that swarm and multiply in a drop of water. With infinite complacency men went to and fro over this globe about their little affairs, serene in their assurance of their empire over matter. It is possible that the infusoria under the microscope do the same. No one gave a thought to the older worlds of space as sources of human danger, or thought of them only to dismiss the idea of life upon them as impossible or improbable. It is curious to recall some of the mental habits of those departed days. At most terrestrial men fancied there might be other men upon Mars, perhaps inferior to themselves and ready to welcome a missionary enterprise. Yet across the gulf of space, minds that are to our minds as ours are to those of the beasts that perish, intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic, regarded this earth with envious eyes, and slowly and surely drew their plans against us. And early in the twentieth century came the great disillusionment.
  • I believe we are the only sentient beings in the universe, and I believe that 500 years from now, we will still be the only sentient beings around.
    • Joss Whedon, "Whedon creates space cowboys in 'Firefly'" (22 July 2002) [2]I think we are looking in the wrong direction and they can be 50 light years straight of us and they are no smarter than us.

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