“Since empty space is limitless on all sides and the amount
Of atoms meandering in the measureless universe past count,
All flitting about in many different ways, endlessly hurled
In restless motion, it is most unlikely that this world,
This sky and rondure of the earth, was made the only one.
And all those atoms outside of our world get nothing done;
Especially since this world is the product of Nature, the happenstance
Of the seeds of things colliding into each other by pure chance
In every possible way, no aim in view, at random, blind,
Till sooner or later certain atoms suddenly combined
So that they lay the warp to weave the cloth of mighty things
Of earth, of sea, of sky, of all the species of living beings.
That’s why I say you must admit that there are other cases
Of congregations of matter that exist in other places
Like this one here of ours the aether ardently embraces.
Besides, when matter is available in great supply
Where there is space at hand, and nothing to be hindered by,
Things must happen and come to pass. That is a certainty.
And if there are so many atoms now no one could count,
In all the time Life has existed for, the full amount,
If the same Force and the same Nature abide everywhere
To throw together atoms just as they’re united here
You must confess that there are other worlds with other races
Of people and other kinds of animals in other places.”
– Lucretius, On the Nature of Things, ca 50BC.