Duckrabbit discusses the “ancient astronaut” beliefs that are currently popular and puts them in the context of mythology.
So the correlation between ancient myths of ‘gods’ and ‘angels’ and the modern myths of aliens is no coincidence. They serve the same mythological function: advanced beings from a realm beyond the earth that interfere or assist in human development. Sometimes they are benevolent, sometimes malicious, but most of the time indifferent. Often they can control events and physical forces that are beyond our control, such as time, weather, etc. They sometimes give prophetic messages, or whisk unsuspecting humans off into the unknown and reveal to them mysteries of the universe. The one interpretation does not validate the other or vice versa. The ancients did not misinterpret aliens as gods. We and the ancients have misinterpreted something that we don’t understand as something that we can understand, as we have done throughout history. The commonalities are what’s important. The fact that we need some type of figure or character to serve that function tells us something about our own psyche. We yearn for the existence of a race of beings that lives beyond the trials and sorrows of human life. The question is not, ‘are gods actually aliens?’; the question is, ‘why do we want to believe that such beings exist?’