The Most Curious Cases of Extraterrestrial Encounters

Species of life alien to our own are definitely out there. How could this not be the case? With billions of stars just like our sun, in a universe that has been around for at least 14 billion years, it’s statistically impossible to imagine Earthlings are the only sentient life force. Aliens exist. Proving it is the work of UFOlogists all over the world. Are you a skeptic too? Well, according to the most recent study, you might be alone. About 45 percent of all Americans believe in the existence of intelligent alien civilizations in the universe. If you’re arguing that Americans aren’t known for their intelligence, you should know that one of the world’s most preeminent geniuses, the late Stephen Hawking, an American physicist, was instrumental in launching a program called SETI (search-for-extraterrestrial-intelligence).

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With help from Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, they built the giant SETI laboratory at UC Berkeley to research this statistical reality. And the Chinese, with all their ancient knowledge, have opened the world’s largest radar facility to listen for signs “out there”. Furthermore, almost half the global population believes in the existence of extra-Earthly intelligent life. The survey of 24 countries found 47 percent of Earthlings believe. And, finally, it could be that Russians know something, because 67 percent of the Russian population believe that aliens exist. Direct evidence is the most convincing factor. Believe it or not, some people have either been abducted, witnessed extraterrestrial life or experienced phenomena that has no other Earthly explanation. Their stories are worth the perusal, if only for amusement.

Life On Mars

There’s no life on Mars. But that didn’t stop nearly a century of speculation and belief after it was discovered that the planet showed signs of martian life—large canals, valleys, canyons—carved into the planet’s surface. Theoretically, water, the main ingredient for life, caused the canyon-like formations. The word “martian” arrived in our vocabulary during the 1400s, derived from the Romans who admired the red planet and the very human god it represented to them. Imagine a stately Roman nobleman flattered by being called martian—like or resembling their revered god of war. The word as we know it today, referring to beings living on Mars, increased in use in the 1900s after Percival Lowell, a wealthy aristocrat who championed the field of astronomy, tried to convince the world that life on Mars exists. He went about this task by writing articles in such publications as The Atlantic, proclaiming that the canals on Mars were the work of an intelligent species, digging with their Martian tools. His theories held influence. Popular imagination of next-door planet Mars populated with Martian neighbors peaked in the 1970s after images of the planet began coming back from Mars Rover showing barren, lifeless and dry landscapes.

While a fraction of his legacy is crack-pot science, Lowell also left us a state-of-the-art telescope that he commissioned and built in 1895. The Lowell Observatory in Flagstaff, Arizona is still in operation today. It goes without saying, he employed the telescope to prove his theories about intelligent life on Mars at the end of the nineteenth century, and early into the twentieth century, which he would not live to see disproved. Nor would he see the lasting influence he contributed to science fiction, having inspired H.G. Wells and Edgar Rice Burroughs. Another late-nineteenth century wealthy and forward-thinking pioneer was Nikola Tesla. Tesla studied signals he believed were coming from Mars and designed a device in order to reciprocate communication. It was in 1899 when he detected those cosmic rays. And, though they may not have come from Mars, his discovery made him the founder of radio and remote-control technology, putting him ahead of his time amongst those who would go on to create programs like SETI.

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