The Brookings Institution Gave NASA Advice About Extraterrestrial Life

Shortly after NASA was founded, it sought out expert opinions on the international, legal and economic ramifications of the U.S. space program. The venerable Washington-based think tank, The Brookings Institution, responded with a 1960 report that included thoughts on dealing with aliens. » 5/13/14 11:20am 5/13/14 11:20am

Are Religious Beliefs Going To Screw Up First Contact?

Are humans really prepared to meet an extraterrestrial civilization in this century? A new study suggests we're psychologically ill-prepared for this monumental event — and that the prominence of religious beliefs has a lot to do with it. » 5/09/14 10:00am 5/09/14 10:00am

What's the most believable alien in science fiction?

We've all seen tons of aliens in movies, television, comics and of course novels. But some of them seem more way more plausible than others. Both physically, in the sense of having evolved on another planet, and in terms of having a culture and society that seem fully realized. What's the most believable alien in… » 7/26/13 2:11pm 7/26/13 2:11pm

David Brin's Existence will make you think about the future a whole new…

David Brin has created some of the greatest classics of recent science fiction, including Startide Rising, plus the short stories "The Crystal Spheres" and "Thor Meets Captain America," the latter of which was the basis of the graphic novel The Life Eaters. So Brin's first novel in a decade is cause for celebration. » 6/18/12 4:19pm 6/18/12 4:19pm

This Twilight Zone comic is one of the funniest examples of first…

Gold Key Twilight Zone comics ruled. Their covers were confounding, and the plots were nuggets o' weirdness narrated by a snarky illustrated Rod Serling. In this gem from 1972, a blind, whiny alien turns some schmo into his "seeing-eye man!" » 10/25/10 8:45am 10/25/10 8:45am

What science fiction and horror flicks are on Hulu these days?

Hulu's scifi and horror pages are chock full of worthwhile movies, even if the selection skews towards the ridiculous and low-budget. Here's the cream of the crop. Apologies to our international readers! » 9/04/10 10:00am 9/04/10 10:00am

In YOUR lifetime: clones, fusion energy, extra dimensions and first…

This is the coolest thing you'll see all day. Scientific American has an interactive infographic showing twelve things that could/will happen by 2050. We'll meet aliens, fight nuclear wars, clone people and discover extra dimensions. Witness the animated tesseract! » 5/24/10 9:30am 5/24/10 9:30am

We'll Only Find Extraterrestrial Life If We Know What We're Looking For

Our probes and landers still look for life "as we know it." But we're already aware that even terrestrial life goes beyond what we once considered possible. We should use that experience, or we may literally step on alien life. » 4/28/10 2:14pm 4/28/10 2:14pm

Why Haven't Alien Intelligences Contacted Us Yet?

Experts say any spacefaring alien races we meet must be vastly more advanced than we are. That's because the odds of an alien race, within a reasonable traveling distance, developing spaceflight at the exact same moment as humanity are virtually nil. So any other space-traveling cultures in our patch of the galaxy… » 6/03/08 12:57pm 6/03/08 12:57pm

Let's Put Our Worst Foot Forward With Alien Intelligences

Want to make a good impression on extraterrestrial civilization we encounter? The best bet is to showcase our dark side — our foibles, our mistakes and even our most horrifying aspects, says Douglas Vakoch, director of message for the SETI (Search for Extra Terrestrial Intelligence) Institute. It's too bad the Voyager… » 4/10/08 5:00pm 4/10/08 5:00pm

False Advertising In Star Trek Movie Posters: A Complete History

Movie posters used to be simple and dignified, until marketing departments realized that the more sensational the poster, the more ticket-buyers. It's like the cover of a comic book: You might see an image of Batman riddled with bullets and dead, but that never takes place in the actual story itself. Star Trek has… » 4/03/08 3:38pm 4/03/08 3:38pm

How Could We Talk To Alien Life Forms?

Chances are when alien visitors show up, they won't speak any language we can recognize. We'll be lucky if they have recognizable music, like the aliens in Mary Doria Russell's The Sparrow. They may not have eyes or ears, as we understand them. So how can we prove to our first contacts that we're smart enough to talk… » 1/16/08 8:20am 1/16/08 8:20am

Terminator, The Queen Borg In The Shell Chronicles

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles starts its two-night premiere next Sunday, and you may have seen some of the new posters promoting the show, including with one with a topless (and bottomless) Summer Glau hanging from cables with all of her, uh... cybernetics exposed. But it turns out the old android babe with… » 1/07/08 8:40am 1/07/08 8:40am