Is There Intelligent Life Out There?; Exploring Intelligence; Scientific American Presents; by Lemarchand; 9 Page(s)
The land lies sleeping under the enveloping mantle of night. Bright stars gleam like jewels from the velvet darkness. Beyond, in depths frightening in their sheer immensity, the Milky Way trails its tenuous gown of stardust across the heavens, and well beyond that billions of stars, galaxies and planets dance in a cosmic symphony.
From our earliest days, humans have strongly sensed that this endless majesty is too huge to be contemplated by a single intelligent species, and one thread that links the ancient Greek philosophers to modern space scientists is the desire to know whether other inhabited worlds exist. Vast and old beyond understanding, the universe forces us to ponder the ultimate significance of our tiny but exquisite life-bearing planet and to long for the knowledge that somewhere out there, someone like us is gazing toward the heavens and having similar thoughts.