I was transformed by picking up a pair of binoculars and looking up, and that’s hard to do for a city kid because when you look up you just see buildings – and really, your first thought is to look in people’s windows. So to look out of the space – out of living space – and look up to the sky, binoculars go far, literally and figuratively.
The history of exploration has never been driven by exploration. But Columbus himself was a discoverer. So was Magellan. But the people who wrote checks were not. They had other motivations.
Stephen Hawking’s been watching too many Hollywood movies. I think the only kind aliens in Hollywood are the ones created by Steven Spielberg – ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ and ‘E.T.,’ for example. All other aliens are trying to suck our brains out.