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Yes, at least in Western society, where rapidly developing science and technology give rise to a sense that almost anything can happen. In 1960, we used dial phones and many people were on party lines! We still had to use operators to call long distance and calls were expensive. Today, we use compact and light cell phones that can play music, show movies, make conference calls, surf the Web, and have thousands of other apps. We find such “gee whiz” technology everywhere we look—automobiles, computers, operating rooms, factories, kitchens, airplanes and spacecraft, and weapons of all sorts. And we live in a culture where television programs, books, video games, toys, sweatshirts, and so much more encourage us to think about ET.

We have been exposed, again and again, to ideas about ET, and this repeated exposure makes us more open to the possibility that extraterrestrial life will be discovered and has prompted us to think about possible results. Public opinion polls reveal that at least half of the respondents think that extraterrestrial life exists, and a substantial number of people believe that ET has visited or is visiting Earth.

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