Fayé, Herve Auguste Etienne Albans (1814–1902)
A leading French astronomer and professor at the École polytechnique
who, at a time when pluralism was popular
among the intelligentsia in France, argued that extraterrestrial life might
be quite uncommon. Habitable planets would be unlikely, he thought, around
stars that were small, variable, or tightly packed in clusters. Within the
solar system, he suggested that the requisite climatic, atmospheric, chemical,
and geological conditions necessary for life occurred only on Earth and
possibly on Mars and Venus.
Furthermore, adopting a modified version of the
nebular hypothesis, Fayé considered the formation of planetary systems
like our own to be a rare event.