The possibility of aliens existing has been dissected to death in the modern era. We have not gotten an ounce of proof to support any claims, but that hasn't stopped scientists and the general public from speculating about this incredulous possibility. It seems that these thoughts even ventured into the minds of the great orator and politicians Winston Churchill, and he wrote about them at length.

Document in question

Churchill’s affiliation to science was well-known, especially because of its necessity during the time of war. Just when the Second World War was about to break out in 1939, he wrote a science article in which he contemplated the existence of life on distance planets.

This article was 11-pages when it was first penned, and was later updated in the 1950’s, but was never really published by anyone.

It made its way to a museum in 1980, but it would stay undiscovered for decades until it was found again last year. Timothy Riley, the director of the National Churchill Museum, is the person responsible for finding the lost document. After examining its authenticity, he passed it on to Mario Livio, an Israeli astrophysicist, who explained the contents of the article in the Nature Journal recently.

Churchill’s views

The title of this article was ‘Are we alone in the universe?’ - A profound question posed by a profound man. After speculating about the possibility, Churchill writes that it is quite possible that life could exist on planets similar to our own.

Dr Livio said that the politician approached the question like a scientist, and was able to reason out the details remarkably well.

Churchill believed that given the vastness of the Universe, it is highly likely that life replicates itself again in some form or another. This reasoning, without the great leader’s knowledge, is actually based on a famous scientific principle known as the Copernican Principle.

Churchill assumed that life’s great purpose was to “breed and multiply”, and that liquid water could possibly be the most important factor in determining the existence of life elsewhere. He even focused on the importance of the Sun, and the relationship between the distance of the planet from its host star and its habitability.

He wrote "One day, possibly even in the not very distant future, it may be possible to travel to the Moon, or even to Venus and Mars." His thoughts were also clearly influenced by the problems in the world at that point, as he said that he wasn’t “impressed by the success” of our own civilization. The lack of our civility made Churchill open-minded to the possibility that life should occur elsewhere, as we can’t be the only living creatures in our universe.

The prolific speaker and leader clearly was ahead of his time on all fronts, and this apparently also included areas of astrophysics. His ideas are truly impressive, especially considering how much more we have understood about the possibility of life on other planets since he first penned his article.