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When Did the Search for Aliens Begin?

Updated on September 18, 2012
Martians from HG Wells
Martians from HG Wells

For most of us, our first exposure to the search for aliens or life on other planets began with H.G. Wells, War of the World. Not the old turn of the century book, but, the movie. The 1950's version and the recent version both portray nasty creatures trying to take over Earth.

But, the first really curious humans were the scientists and the invention of the telescope in 1608. The first recorded writings expressing such interest was Galileo, who at best, was skeptical about aliens. He did qualify it, though, stating that such aliens could not be like us on Earth. By the 17th century, the view had changed and it was Johannes Kepler, a German astronomer, who thought aliens did exist on the moon and Jupiter and suggested that settlers might go there. The 18th century saw more intellectuals like, Voltaire, John Adams, Benjamin Franklin, state similar comments and belief.

Many ancient societies seem to draw or create artifacts depicting aliens or spaceships, the Inca and Mayan, come to mind, and often shown as proof. But even more mainstream religions have references to extraterrestrials in origin like Seventh-day Adventist and Mormon back in the late 1700's.

Public interest in aliens on planets began in the late 1800's with the publication of numerous writings claiming that via the telescope, one can see the canals made by engineers. By 1905, the first photograph of Mars was taken in Arizona and exploded the idea that what was seen was objective proof that Martian canals had been built by aliens. H.G Wells can be called the modern father of alien promotion. He firmly believed the existence of aliens on Mars.

Now, Curiosity is roving around on Mars, looking for proof and finding a lot of interesting things but no Martians. Remember, Ray Bradbury's, The Martian Chronicles? Such a gripping book. If only the Martian thingy were true!! Instead, it's just a Red planet that resembles areas of Arizona.


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