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Arthur Dent is one of the two human survivors when the Earth is destroyed by Vogons to make way for a hyperspace bypass in The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. Arthur's friend Ford Prefect, an alien from Betelgeuse, brings Arthur along when he escapes the Earth's destruction.
On the spaceship Heart of Gold, Arthur is reunited with Trillian, the other human survivor, who left the Earth with Galactic President Zaphod Beeblebrox. Arthur and Trillian fall in love, and after many adventures, decide to travel through the universe together.
In the Farscape episode "Unrealized Reality," Arthur Dent is one of several sci-fi/fantasy heroes mentioned by John Crichton: "But I am not Kirk, Spock, Luke, Buck, Flash or Arthur frelling Dent. I'm Dorothy Gale from Kansas."