How We Imagine Aliens

Pop culture’s creations far surpass what science says is possible

Jaime Green
May 24, 2018 · 11 min read
Photo By Getty Images

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A plaque engraved in Klingon and English. Photo by Mark Berry / Barcroft Media / Getty Images
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Credit: Avatar Wiki

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Scene from Star Trek: The Next Generation — “The Chase”
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Scene from “Arrival” with the alien heptapod.

Jaime Green

Written by

Writer & editor | BuzzFeed, Brooklyn Magazine, Slate, Longreads, &c.

Jaime Green

Written by

Writer & editor | BuzzFeed, Brooklyn Magazine, Slate, Longreads, &c.

The Possibility of Life
The Possibility of Life
The Possibility of Life

About this Collection

The Possibility of Life

It's a question that has captivated scientists, writers, philosophers, and laypeople for millennia. We see the diversity of life on Earth, and the vastness of the cosmos, and we can't help but wonder. In the last one hundred years, we've come closer than ever to answering this question, with probes that travel beyond the solar system, with telescopes that can reach distant worlds and potentially receive their transmissions - if those transmissions exist. But for all that this search could teach us about the universe, it may also teach us something about ourselves. In this series, essayist Jaime Green delves into the search for life beyond Earth, exploring the science and its many cultural reverberations here at home.

It's a question that has captivated scientists, writers, philosophers, and laypeople for millennia. We see the diversity of life on Earth, and the vastness of the cosmos, and we can't help but wonder. In the last one hundred years, we've come closer than ever to answering this question, with probes that travel beyond the solar system, with telescopes that can reach distant worlds and potentially receive their transmissions - if those transmissions exist. But for all that this search could teach us about the universe, it may also teach us something about ourselves. In this series, essayist Jaime Green delves into the search for life beyond Earth, exploring the science and its many cultural reverberations here at home.

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