"I suspect that religion is a necessary evil in the childhood of our particular species. And that's one of the interesting things about contact with other intelligences: we could see what role, if any, religion plays in their development."
Here's the quote about the stuntship whose sole purpose was to fly into the sun to provide spectacular effects for a rock concert.
The earliest reference to this idea (that I can find, anyway) is the black coating from E.E. 'Doc Smith's 1939 novel Gray Lensman.
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