If I were to suggest that between the Earth and Mars there is a china teapot revolving about the sun in an elliptical orbit, nobody would be able to disprove my assertion provided I were careful to add that the teapot is too small to be revealed even by our most powerful telescopes. But if I were to go on to say that, since my assertion cannot be disproved, it is an intolerable presumption on the part of human reason to doubt it, I should rightly be thought to be talking nonsense. If, however, the existence of such a teapot were affirmed in ancient books, taught as the sacred truth every Sunday, and instilled into the minds of children at school, hesitation to believe in its existence would become a mark of eccentricity and entitle the doubter to the attentions of the psychiatrist in an enlightened age or of the Inquisitor in an earlier time.But this got me to thinking, what if there is a teapot out there in space, orbiting the sun? OK, very unlikely, but if a space faring civilization has ever been here they may have left some evidence floating around in space, and if we ever expand our sphere of influence outside low earth orbit, we might find some evidence of that.
There is the theory that the asteroid belt was once a planet, or tried to be a planet, or something. It could have been a planet, I mean, we have theories, but no one really knows what happened. And there could have been a civilization there and they may have left artifacts behind. And being as they are floating in space, out of the reach of the natural forces found on the surface of a planet, they would be like they were when the planet was destroyed. Maybe.
P.S. Russell was 80 years old when he wrote this teapot story.
P.P.S. Even if it was a fricking enormous teapot, we still would not be able to detect it with our current instruments. I mean, even with the Hubble we can't even see the stuff we left on the moon. The smallest thing the Hubble can pick out on the moon is 300 feet across.