ET, HG Wells, sci-fi classics and beyond: Royal Observatory Greenwich's Alien Revolution

By Culture24 Reporter | 13 February 2013

Exhibition Preview: Alien Revolution, Royal Observatory Greenwich, London, March 1 – August 2013

An image showing a historic illustration of winged men flying above various animals
Depiction of lunar life by Leopoldo Galluzo, based on the satire in the New York Sun (1836)© Smithsonian Picture Library
What with being able to accurately call itself London’s centre of space and time, you’d have thought Greenwich’s Royal Observatory would be a fitting – and atmospheric – place to consider the possibilities of extra-terrestrial life forms.

And so it proves: the host collections, ranging from the 16th century astronomical thoughts of Copernicus to insights into the solitary mission embarked upon to date by the Mars Curiosity rover, ponder the prospects in extensive, adventurous fashion.

An image showing a drawing of some sort of telescope on a stand above a landscape
The Martians destroy an ironclad battleship using a heat-ray in this scene from War of the Worlds by HG Wells© British Library
HG Wells’ invading martians, ET, crop circle investigators and Betty and Barney Hill – an American couple who claim to be among the first to have been abducted by aliens, all the way back in 1961 – make for a compelling cast of characters, not to mention cult classic sci-fi screenings, themed planetarium shows and a special evening devised for Museums at Night.

Talks, live shows, a short course (Aliens in Science Fiction, naturally) and visits from astronomers are also planned. A central programme, Summer Science, will accelerate the combination of science and culture once the weather warms up.


More pictures:

An overhead image showing a multi-layered white crop circle on dark green crop fields
This crop circle was attributed to aliens activity in Cheesefoot, Hampshire© Lucy Pringle
An image showing a drawing of a man from centuries ago against a white sketchy background
Astronomer Royal Nevil Maskelyne© National Maritime Museum, London
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