Winston Churchill believed there may be life in space
Former British prime minister considers exoplanets and alien life
Former British prime minister Winston Churchill was known to be an inspiring speaker and prolific writer, but his interest in science and space are less widely known.
An article recently published in the journal Naturereveals that Churchill believed in the possibility of life in space.
In the article, Mario Livio details Churchill's thoughts from an unpublished essay he was shown while visiting the U.S. National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Mo.
Churchill's essay was titled Are We Alone in the Universe? and Churchill's answer was no.
Churchill started the 11-page essay in 1939 and revised it in the late 1950s. Livio writes that, in it, Churchill offered up his hypotheses with the skepticism of a scientist and accepted that he could be proven wrong.
"With hundreds of thousands of nebulae, each containing thousands of millions of suns, the odds are enormous that there must be immense numbers which poses planets whose circumstances would not render life impossible," Churchill wrote.
Churchill theorizes that the only other habitable places in the solar system are Mars and Venus, because the other planets are too hot, too cold or lack enough gravity.
He also talks about the probability of other stars' hosting planets, like the relationship between the sun and the Earth, something that wasn't confirmed until 1992.
However, he does entertain the possibility that our sun is "indeed exceptional, and possibly unique."
"I am not sufficiently conceited to think that my sun is the only one with a family of planets."
Something out there
While Churchill never outright says he believes there is human-like life in space, he considers the possibility that some other kind of life either has existed or will exist in the universe. But he said we may never know.
"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, or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time."
As Livio points out, many of the questions Churchill asks in his essay haven't been answered 80 years later and may remained unanswered for decades to come.