Space, Time and Aliens: The Role of Imagination in Outer Space
Throughout the twentieth century, ideas of outer space entered the lives of vast segments of the public in ways that imparted an emotional experience often difficult to achieve with hard facts alone. These ideas of space changed radically from a static to an accelerating universe, opening a vast playing field for human and alien action and interaction. Our conception of time expanded profoundly and we now know that humans are a rather recent and perhaps ephemeral addition. Furthermore, our ideas of aliens stimulated speculations on our place in the great chain of being. Ideas from all three areas – space, time and (alien) being – permanently altered our Weltanschauung and have affected our views on religion, philosophy and visions of human destiny.