When it comes to considering what aliens might look like, the human imagination
has long stood in for science. Sci-fi authors, Hollywood directors, and T.V.
make-up artists are responsible for how the average earthling envisions aliens,
having brought to life all manner of fictional extraterrestrials for our avid
consumption. Yet recently, as scientists have begun to uncover clues to the
origin of our universe and life on Earth, the topic of alien life has crossed
over from the realm of fiction. Many scientists now speculate that life on
other worlds is not only possible but probable, raising the odds that even
intelligent life might exist elsewhere.
So what would a real alien look like? Nobody knows, but most likely it would
not resemble any being we've seen before. Even the strangest movie aliens (let
alone the myriad humanoids), with their symmetrical bodies, blinking eyes, and
dexterous appendages, are merely clever twists on life found on our planet.
Experts agree that our humble imaginations may not have even scratched the
surface of the wild possibilities for actual ET life. As digital artist Cameron
Mckechnie notes, "Aliens could exhibit colors not in our spectrum. Aliens could
look like coke bottles, or could be composed of magnetic forces undetectable to
the human eye. They could be just a strange smell in the air. They could be
completely digital and look like beautiful strange fractal chaotic swirls. Who
Someday we may discover an exotic aquarium beneath Europa's icy surface or a
populated extrasolar planet. Until then, however, we'll just have to rely on
human-imagined ETs. To flip through a photo album of some of the most
memorable, if mundane, aliens we've known so far, click on the image at