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Extraterrestrial

Rare 17th-Century book on alien life discovered

By T.K. Randall
May 21, 2022 · Comment icon 8 comments



Saturn was once thought to be a potential home to alien life. Image Credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/Space Science Institute
Published in 1698, the book offers a unique look into how people from the time perceived the possibility of extraterrestrial life.
Discovered by books valuer Jim Spencer at an antique valuation event in Gloucestershire, England, the book was written by Christiaan Huygens and explores the possible existence of extraterrestrial entities while posing the question of why God would have created other planets solely for us to look at.

It's title - "The Celestial World Discover'd: Or, Conjectures Concerning the Inhabitants, Plants and Productions of the Worlds in the Planets" - is certainly a mouthful.

Many of the ideas and conclusions Huygens reaches in the book seem a bit strange by today's standards, however they are consistent with the science of the time.
He speculates that intelligent aliens must have hands like our own due to their convenience and that they must also have human-like feet (unless they have developed the ability to fly.)

He also suggests that these beings are likely to pursue many of the same sports and interests that we do, such as astronomy, sailing and listening to music, but that they are also likely to be afflicted with poverty, war and other misfortune because it is what promotes invention and progress.

The book, which is to be sold at auction, is expected to fetch up to $4,000.

"It's fascinating to think who turned these pages in 1698, what they must've felt when reading these descriptions of life on Jupiter or Saturn before gazing up at the night sky," said Spencer.



Source: BBC News | Comments (8)


Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by jethrofloyd 7 months ago
I may be wrong, but this could be the first book to discuss a existence of the alien life.    
Comment icon #2 Posted by HandsomeGorilla 7 months ago
How awesome! If I found that, you couldn't pay me enough money to sell it!                          *I'm lying about the money part 
Comment icon #3 Posted by Prab 7 months ago
I don't know much about other cultures but I'm aware that in one of the very very old Indian literatures there are mentions of weird looking beings from another planets that didn't look like us at all and flying machines mentions called "vimanas" and stuff. In the story of Mahabharata also had mentions of weapons that sounds like nuclear weapons and flying homing missiles that would target only specific people/areas it was fired upon. Mahabharata we have today is written less than 2,500 or so years ago, but they could be describing events that occurred 5,000 or 3,000 years ago is what's being ... [More]
Comment icon #4 Posted by Abramelin 7 months ago
The original booktitle must have been "Cosmotheoros" : https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christiaan_Huygens
Comment icon #5 Posted by Abramelin 7 months ago
In Greek mythology and I think also Nordic mythology there exist flying chariots. For instance the legend of Phaeton.
Comment icon #6 Posted by psyche101 6 months ago
The first structured thought on paper at least I would think.  As others have posted, there are myths, but I don't know of any serious publication which is earlier taking an academic look at the idea. 
Comment icon #7 Posted by qxcontinuum 6 months ago
 The 1st book ever written that describes alien life God's planet where Enoch was taken, is the book of Enoch about 200 bc 
Comment icon #8 Posted by Nobu 6 months ago
What if Jesus was an alien? And I’m not talking about my neighbor.


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