Are scientific discoveries inspiring "Alien Fever" at the box office?

Hollywood has been pumping out a prodigious amount of movies about aliens in recent years, and the public has been eating them up. But just why is it that we can't get enough of extraterrestrial life?

Scientific American and SPACE.com's Mike Wall has put together this interesting read on the increasing popularity of big-budget alien films.

The article includes interviews with Emory University physics professor Sidney Perkowitz (author of Hollywood Science: Movies, Science, and the End of the World), and Seth Shostak (senior astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute and advisor to numerous Hollywood scifi directors), and provides some thought-provoking insights on whether society's fascination with extraterrestrial lifeforms — writ large in the form of major motion pictures — stems from geopolitical developments or scientific ones:

Hollywood seems to have caught alien fever.

In the past few months, a slew of big-budget alien movies has hit theaters, from kiddie flicks ("Mars Needs Moms") to comedies ("Paul") to high-octane action films ("Battle: Los Angeles," "Green Lantern" and the just-released "Cowboys & Aliens," among others). And many more such movies are on the way, both this year and next.

This glut of alien sci-fi films comes at a time when scientific discoveries are making the existence of life beyond Earth seem more and more plausible. And that might not be a coincidence, some experts say.

You'll find the rest of Wall's article over at Scientific American