Winston Churchill Was Pretty Sure We Aren't Alone in the Universe

According to a newly discovered essay penned by the former British PM
By Michael Harthorne,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 15, 2017 7:16 PM CST
Winston Churchill Believed in the Possibility of Alien Life
Winston Churchill believed we likely aren't alone in the universe, according to a newly discovered essay.   (AP Photo/British Official Photo, File)

Winston Churchill had a lot more in common with Fox Mulder than we would have thought. Just weeks before Britain entered WWII, the former prime minister penned an essay titled Are We Alone in the Universe?, the BBC reports. His answer: Probably not. "I for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilization here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures," Churchill wrote in the never-published and recently discovered essay. According to Nature, Churchill wrote—years before the discovery of exoplanets—that he was "not sufficiently conceited" to think there aren't other, possibly life-supporting planets circling stars outside our solar system.

Churchill's essay, written in 1939 and revised in the 1950s, was discovered last year in Missouri's National Churchill Museum and handed over to astrophysicist Mario Livio, who wrote about it this week. Livio says Churchill uses the "logic of a scientist" in the essay, which discusses the importance of liquid water and describes what are now known as "Goldilocks" zones, the New York Times reports. That's not surprising, as Churchill was immensely interested in science in general and space in particular. He was the first British prime minister to have a science adviser, funded telescopes, and even instructed the Royal Air Force to cover up a potential UFO sighting. Livio says it's "moving" to see a leader involved in science when so many current politicians "shun" it. (More Winston Churchill stories.)

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