Extraterrestrial Life

Butler, Samuel

Quoth he—Th' Inhabitants o' the Moon, Who when the Sun shines hot at Noon, Do live in Cellars underground Of eight Miles deep and eighty round (In which at once they fortify Against the Sun and th' Enemy) Which they count towns and Cities there, Because their People's civiler Than those rude Peasants, that are found To live upon the upper Ground, Call'd Privolvans, with whom they are Perpetually at open War.

In Rene Lamar (ed.) Satires and Miscellaneous Prose The Elephant in the Moon de Saint-Exupery, Antoine

So you, too, come from the sky! Which is your planet?

The Little Prince Part III (p. 14)

Diamond, Jared

Think again of those astronomers who beamed radio signals into Space from Arecibo, describing Earth's location and its inhabitants. In its suicidal folly that act rivaled the folly of the last Inca emperor, Atahualpa, who described to his gold-crazy Spanish captors the wealth of his capital and provided them with guides for the journey. If there really are any radio civilizations within listening distance of us, then for heaven's sake let's turn off our own transmitters and try to escape detection, or we are doomed.

Fortunately for us, the silence from Outer Space is deafening...What woodpeckers teach us about flying saucers is that we're unlikely to ever see one.

The Third Chimpanzee Part 3

So you, too, corne from the sky! Which is your planet? Antoine de Saint-Exupéry - (See p. 115)

Dick, Steven

As we stand on the threshold of the new millennium, we may conjecture that 1,000 years from now we will have had our answer to this age-old question. Humanity 3,000 will know whether or not it is alone in the universe, at least within our galaxy.

Extraterrestrial Life and Our World at the Turn of the Millennium (p. 44)

Dickinson, Terence

...the lure of backyard exploration of the universe: the chilling realization that Earth is but a mote of dust adrift in the ocean of space. The fact that Earth harbours creatures who are able to contemplate their place in the cosmic scheme must make our dust speck a little special. But wondering who else is out there only deepens the almost mystical enchantment of those remote celestial orbs.


Dietrich, Marlene

Until they come to see us from their planet, I wait patiently. I hear them saying: Don't call us, we'll call you.

Marlene Dietrich's ABC Venus

Eddington, Sir Arthur Stanley

I do not think that the whole purpose of the Creation has been staked on the one planet where we live; and in the long run we cannot deem ourselves the only race that has been or will be gifted with the mystery of consciousness. But I feel inclined to claim that at the present time our race is supreme; and not one of the profusion of stars in their myriad clusters looks down on scenes comparable to those which are passing beneath the rays of the sun.

The Nature of the Physical World Chapter VIII (p. 178)

Eiseley, Loren

So deep is the conviction that there must be life out there beyond the dark, one thinks that if they are more advanced than ourselves they may come across space at any moment, perhaps in our generation. Later, contemplating the infinity of time, one wonders if perchance their messages came long ago, hurtling into the swamp muck of the steaming coal forests, the bright projectile clambered over by hissing reptiles, and the delicate instruments running mindlessly down with no report.

The Immense Journey Little Men and Flying Saucers (p. 144)

In a universe whose size is beyond human imagining, where our world floats like a dust mote in the void of night, men have grown inconceivably lonely. We scan the time scale and the mechanisms of life itself for portents and signs of the invisible. As the only thinking mammals on the planet— perhaps the only thinking animals in the entire sidereal universe—the burden of consciousness has grown heavy upon us. We watch the stars, but the signs are uncertain. We uncover the bones of the past and seek for our origins. There is a path there, but it appears to wander. The vagaries of the road may have a meaning, however; it is thus we torture ourselves.

The Immense Journey Little Men and Flying Saucers (pp. 161-2)

...nowhere in all space or on a thousand worlds will there be men to share our loneliness. There may be wisdom; there may be power; somewhere across space great instruments, handled by strange, manipulative organs, may stare vainly at our floating cloud wrack, their owners yearning as we yearn. Nevertheless, in the nature of life and in the principles of evolution we have had our answer. Of men, elsewhere, and beyond, there will be none forever.

The Immense Journey Little Men and Flying Saucers (p. 162)

Fuller, R. Buckminster

Sometimes I think we're alone. Sometimes I think we're not. In either case, the thought is quite staggering.

In James A. Haught (ed.) 2000 Years of Disbelief Chapter 71 (p. 290)

Giraudoux, Jean

COUNTESS:. ..are you so stupid as to think that just because we're alone here, there's nobody else in the room? Do you consider us so boring or so repulsive that of all the millions of beings, imaginary or otherwise, who are prowling around in space looking for a little company, there is not one who might possibly enjoy spending a moment with us? On the contrary, my dear—my house is full of guests...

The Madwoman of Chaillot Act II (p. 94)

Huygens, Christianus

A Man that is of Copernicus's Opinion, that this Earth of ours is a planet, carry'd round and enlighten'd by the Sun, like the rest of them, cannot but sometimes have a fancy, that it's not improbable that the rest of the Planets have their Dress and Furniture, nay and their Inhabitants too as well as this Earth of ours.

The Celestial Worlds Discover'd Book the First (pp. 1-2)

Jones, Sir Harold Spencer

We see the Earth as a small planet, one member of a family of planets revolving round the Sun; the Sun, in turn, is an average star situated somewhat far out from the centre of a vast system, in which the stars are numbered by many thousands of millions; there are many millions of such systems, more or less similar to each other, peopling space to the farthest limits to which modern exploration has reached.

Can it be that throughout the vast deeps of space nowhere but on our own little Earth is life to be found?

Life on Other Worlds Chapter I (p. 19)

Koch, Howard

Good heavens, something's wriggling out of the shadow like a grey snake. Now it's another one, and another. They look like tentacles to me. There, I can see the thing's body. It's large as a bear and glistens like wet leather. But that face. It—it's indescribable. I can hardly force myself to keep looking at it. The eyes are black and gleam like a serpent's. The mouth is V-shaped with saliva dripping from its rimless lips that seem to quiver and pulsate.

In Isabel S. Gordon and Sophie Sorkin (eds) The Armchair Science Reader Part I

Man Among the Stars Invasion from Mars (p. 9)

Metrodorus of Chios

...it would be strange if a single ear of corn grew in a large plain or there were only one world in the infinite.

In F.M. Cornford The Classical Quarterly Innumerable Worlds in Presocratic Philosophy (p. 13)

January 1934

Milton, John

Dream not of other Worlds; what Creatures there Live, in what state, condition or degree...

Paradise Lost Book VIII, L. 175-6

...there is every reason now to see in the origin of life not a "happy accident" but a completely regular phenomenon, an inherent component of the total evolutionary development of our planet. The search for life beyond Earth is thus only a part of the more general question which confronts science, of the origin of life in the universe.

In M. Calvin and O.G. Gazenko (eds) Foundations of Space Biology and Medicine

Volume I

Theoretical and Experimental Prerequisites of Exobiology

Pallister, William

No one can yet show proof that there exists

A single planet save the solar ones.

But space is wide and high, and time is long,

And there are millions more of other suns.

So men imagine why they do not know And they assume that surely there must be Some other planets, peopled like our own; Some other worlds with creatures such as we.

Poems of Science Other Worlds and Ours Life on Other Planets (p. 210)

Pope, Alexander

He, who through vast immensity can pierce, See worlds on worlds compose one universe, Observe how system into system runs, What other planets circle other suns, What varied Being peoples every star, May tell why Heaven has made us as we are. . .

The Complete Poetical Works of Pope Essay on Man Epistle I

Sagan, Carl

...there are a million other civilizations, all fabulously ugly, and all a lot smarter than us. Knowing this seems to me to be a useful and character-building experience for mankind.

In Richard Berendzen (ed.) Life Beyond Earth & the Mind of Man Sagan (p. 64)

After centuries of muddy surmise, unfettered speculation, stodgy conservatism, and unimaginative disinterest, the subject of extraterrestrial life has finally come of age.

Cosmic Connections Preface (p. viii)

Occasionally, I get a letter from someone who is in "contact" with extraterrestrials. I am invited to "ask them anything." And over the year's I've prepared a little list of questions. The extraterrestrials are very advanced, remember. So I ask things like, "Please provide a short proof of Fermat's Last Theorem.". ..I write out the simple equation with the exponents...It's a stimulating exercise to think of questions to which no human today knows the answers, but where a correct answer would immediately be recognized as such. It's even more challenging to formulate such questions in fields other than mathematics. Perhaps we should hold a contest and collect the best responses in "Ten Questions to Ask an Alien."

The Demon-Haunted World Chapter 6 (p. 100, fn)

We are like the inhabitants of an isolated valley in New Guinea who communicate with societies in neighboring valleys (quite different societies, I might add) by runner and by drum. When asked how a very advanced society will communicate, they might guess by an extremely rapid runner or by an improbably large drum. They might not guess a technology beyond their ken. And yet, all the while, a vast international cable and radio traffic passes over them, around them, and through them...

We will listen for the interstellar drums, but we will miss the interstellar cables. We are likely to receive our first messages from the drummers of the neighboring galactic valleys—from civilizations only somewhat in our future. The civilizations vastly more advanced than we, will be, for a long time, remote both in distance and in accessibility. At a future time of vigorous interstellar radio traffic, the very advanced civilizations may be, for us, still insubstantial legends.

The Cosmic Connection Chapter 31 (pp. 224, 224-5)

Sagan, Carl Newman, William I.

We think it possible that the Milky Way Galaxy is teeming with civilizations as far beyond our level of advance as we are beyond the ants, and paying us about as much attention as we pay to the ants.

Quarterly Journal of the Royal Astronomical Society The Solipsist Approach to Extraterrestrial Intelligence (p. 120)

Volume 24, Number 3, June 1983

Sakharov, Andrei

In infinite space many civilizations are bound to exist, among them societies that may be wiser and more "successful" than ours. I support the cosmological hypothesis which states that the development of the universe is repeated in its basic characteristics an infinite number of times...Yet this should not minimize our sacred endeavors in this world of ours, where, like faint glimmers in the dark, we have emerged for a moment from the nothingness of dark unconscious into material existence.

Nobel Peace Prize Lecture December 11,1975

Shakespeare, William

Glendower: I can call spirits from the vasty deep. Hotspur: Why, so can I, or so can any man;

But will they come when you do call them?

The First Part of King Henry the Fourth Act III, scene i, L. 53-5

Horatio: O day and night, but this is wondrous strange! Hamlet: And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.

There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark Act I, scene v, L. 164-7

Shaw, George Bernard

Drier: Mr. Shaw, do you believe in life on other planets? Shaw: Indeed I do.

Drier: But, Mr. Shaw, what proof do you have?

Shaw: The proof is that they're using us for an insane asylum.


Tsiolkovsky, Konstantin

Is it probable for Europe to be inhabited and not the other parts of the world? Can one island have inhabitants and numerous other islands have none? Is it conceivable for one apple-tree in the infinite orchard of the Universe to bear fruit, while innumerable other trees have nothing but foliage?

In Adam Starchild (ed.) The Science Fiction of Konstantin Tsiolkovsky Dreams of the Earth and Sky (p. 154)

von Braun, Wernher

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.

The New York Times

Text of the Address by von Braun Before the Publishers' Group Meeting Here

29 April 1960 L. 20, column 2

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...

Seven Famous Novels by H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds Book I Chapter 1 (p. 265)

Those who have never seen a living Martian can scarcely imagine the strange horror of its appearance.

Seven Famous Novels by H.G. Wells The War of the Worlds Book I Chapter 4 (p. 276)

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