If there was one group of people who you’d think would have a good idea if space aliens existed or not, it would be astronauts. You’d probably think that most of them believe in aliens and you’d probably be right, even if they don’t admit it publicly. The list of out-of-the-NASA-closet alien believers just grew by one after former astronaut Leroy Chiao spoke this week to students at the University of Wollongong in New South Wales, Australia, and had this to say:
I think there's all kinds of life out there, including intelligent life, but the reason we haven't found each other is because of vast distances.
Dr. Chiao has a Ph.D. in chemical engineering and became an astronaut in July 1991. He’s spent a total of 230 days in space on four separate missions, including his last one in 2004-5 as commander of Expedition 10 on the International Space Station. While he believes there’s life on planets other than Earth, he showed where his heart is on that mission by becoming the first person to vote in a US presidential election while in space. What political party do you think an astronaut who believes in ETs belongs to?
I don't think anyone flies into space without some form of fundamental introspection about what life is about. For me, I was surprised how much more beautiful it is than what the pictures show. It looks very peaceful and nice, and intellectually I knew there was war, famine and conflict down there and that dichotomy was hard to reconcile. It makes you stop and think, and it gave me that perspective of what's important in life.
That didn’t help much. This comment may be a little more revealing:
I believe that at some point, life on Earth will die out, either from natural causes, or from our own doing.
Those who follow ufology know that the late astronaut Edgar Mitchell, the sixth person on the moon, believed not only in UFOs and aliens but in government cover-ups of information about them. Gordon Cooper, an original Mercury astronaut, claimed he witnessed UFOs in 1951 over Germany and saw flying saucers at a secret air base. Deke Slayton, an astronaut and director of flight crew operations, says he also saw a “saucer” UFO in 1951 and Alan Bean, another of the 12 moonwalkers, believes aliens are out there but we haven’t been contacted yet due to the great travel distances required.
With all of those high-level supporters in the astronaut field of the existence of alien life somewhere in the universe, does this exclusive group have any non-believers? Chris Hadfield, the first Canadian to walk in space and a commander of the ISS like Dr. Chiao, ansered that question in an interview:
I don't know of any astronauts who think we're alone in the universe.
Well, that settles it. Now, who do you think Dr. Chiao voted for in the 2004 presidential election?