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Aliens are in the news again. In June, a Navy report could not rule out the possibility that “unexplained aerial phenomena” spotted in our atmosphere were visitors from outer space. In January, Harvard astronomer Avi Loeb claimed an alien spacecraft had actually swept through our solar system in 2017 — and more are coming. Loeb later doubled down, suggesting that UFOs spotted by the military could be spies sent to gather intelligence about our life on Earth. 

As crazy as it all sounds, scientists have long posited the possibility of aliens on our planet. In fact, Francis Crick (who along with James Watson won the Nobel Prize for discovering the structure of the DNA molecule) once theorized that life on Earth was “deliberately transmitted” by intelligent extra terrestrials. Far from being scorned, Crick’s “Directed panspermia” theory was presented at a conference organized by Carl Sagan in 1971 and later published as a scientific paper. 

Scientists took this idea seriously because even the simplest living cells aren’t simple at all. 

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