The Uncertain Heavens: Christiaan Huygens’s Ideas of Extraterrestrial Life

Hugh Aldersey-Williams

Huygens then turned his attention to intelligence and technology. His planetary beings would surely have science, and especially astronomy, as this study was said to have arisen as a consequence of the fear of eclipses, which would also occur on other planets. They would doubtless have some of our inventions, “yet that they should have all of them is not credible.” In particular, Huygens could not credit that they would possess telescopes, since he considered those which he had used himself as being so fine that other intelligences would not be able to equal them. Instead, he invested the denizens of the planets with far superior natural eyesight.

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