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SETI – why bother?

Some people believe in UFOs – unidentified flying objects that carry alien visitors. But there is no confirmed scientific evidence.

People (including scientists) do not always tell the truth (including to themselves) and sightings by single individuals or groups are not accepted as reliable evidence. All observations must be ‘replicated’.

Photographs and even radar images can be deceptive, deliberately or not.

However, aliens exist in our imaginations and stories.

An internet list of alien species has several hundred entries, and does not cover every science fiction book that has ever been written. Vogons are an example of species whose attention we might not want to attract. There are plenty more.

You can watch a programme on ‘alien evolution’.

  • Why do stories about aliens give so much scope for imagination?
  • Compare Klingons, Daleks and E.T.
  • Do stories about these aliens say more about the writers, and the expectations of the writers’ audiences, than they say about space?
  • How would conditions on an exoplanet affect the nature of its lifeforms? Give some examples.
  • To what extent do writers consider processes of evolution when they create their alien species?
  • Is it possible at all that technological intelligence has developed on other planets?


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