Scientists from the 17th century thought that aliens existed on other planets? What we know

Despite the endless number of UFO sightings and reported alien encounters in recent decades, our fascination with extraterrestrial life dates back to the 17th century, according to recent studies. It is believed that astronomers and academics first came to this view in the 16th century, after discovering that Earth, like all other planets; contrary to the previous belief that it was at the center of the universe – in orbit around the sun.

This led theorists to believe that intelligent life like ours must exist on several other planets. The Dutch astronomer Christiaan Huygens developed the theory that God, in his all-seeing and all-knowing power, would not have missed the opportunity to populate the entire universe with living things. He suggested that God’s mysterious other ‘living creatures’ on neighboring planets like Jupiter had hands and feet and stood upright like us, but shockingly claimed that they towered over us in height and lived lives like us, with houses, social interactions, art, and worship.

Huygens became famous in the 1750s for his discovery of the first satellite of Saturn (later called Titan) and the planetary ring (later recognized as rings), and for his invention of the first accurate pendulum clock. He also invented numerous other devices, including the ‘magic lantern’, a type of primitive slide projector, and made important contributions to mathematics, especially in the fields of geometry and probability, by introducing mathematical formulas to explain the relationship between quantities such as speed and express probability. masses in physical problems. All these achievements make him the greatest scientist in the period between Galileo and Newton.

Meanwhile, others were not so sure of extraterrestrial life, but Joseph Glanvill and Isaac Newton of the Royal Institute supported Huygens’ theories, stating in 1976 that although there was currently no evidence of life on other planets, they “supported the hypothesis that the moon habitable, or the suspicion that it is inhabited.”

Only recently has the idea that alien life could be a threat to us come to the fore, with popular culture often portraying alien life as something to be feared rather than welcomed on our planet.

Buzz staff

A team of writers at brings you stories on what’s making the buzz

first print: Apr 22, 2024 11:45 IST