back to article UK boffins: extraterrestrial life will be discovered soon

Top British boffins are convinced that evidence of alien life will soon be discovered outside the solar system. According to reports in both the Guardian and the Telegraph, a group of seven eminent astronomers was convened yesterday by UK Science Minister Malcolm Wicks. The brain trust collectively expected that indications of …


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  1. Dave Pearce

    Don't forget...

    In 992 years the interplanetary TV guide will include:

    Omicron Persei 8 - Single Female Lawyer (broadcast in 1999, apparently)

  2. Herbert Meyer

    ...never have invented television at all

    Ah, come on. A dense atmosphere does not mean they could not develop advanced electronics, just without vacuum tubes (valves, ye brits). Fermi electronics (semiconductors) instead of DeForest.

  3. Rich Harding


    Mate, the last four paragraphs of this are absolutely ****ing priceless!

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    "Epsilon Eridani B (1997): Teletubbies

    Gamma Cephei B (1968): Dad's Army

    rho Coronae Borealis B (1950): Andy Pandy"

    The aliens will have a strange view of human evolution. They will think that we have regressed from being a race of lifeless wooden puppets into a race of inarticulate, machine-dominanted pastel-coloured blobs, with a brief detour into khaki-clad buffoonery. Will they want to visit us?

  5. Dr. Mouse


    Now theres something I never considered... Faster than light travel to catch up on TV shows you missed. Think about it... You miss a few episodes of Coronation Street. Whats the sensible thing to do? Quite obviosly jump in your space ship, calculate the precise distance from earth you need to be, and away you go. Who needs Sky+?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Dense Atmospheres

    I dunno about dense Atmospheres preventing Cathode Ray Tubes.... theres a fair few countries on eath with dense atmospheres that removing TV from would institute a riot...

    Perhaps the Dense atmosphere is from too much TV watching

  7. Richard Johnson

    eu != european union

    The Encyclopedia of Extra Solar Planets is maintained by Jean Schneider at l'Observatiore de Paris, which is funded mainly by the French government not by the European Union. Perhaps you were misled by the .eu domain suffix?

  8. Dave Oakes Silver badge

    Can we be detected?

    About our broadcasts, to anyone a huge distance away it would be tricky to differentiate the signals from noise because for example when the BBC Crystal Palace transmitter was broadcasting Dad's Army the same frequency was being used all over the planet for different programs, at any point on the surface you only recieve the signal from the nearest transmitter but at several light years out all the transmitters are equidistant so the signals would be a random like mush.

    Now we are getting quieter in the radio wavelengths as broadband & DBS replace broadcasting, soon we will be undetectable at a distance.

  9. Neil

    Work the other way?

    Does this mean that we'll soon be receiving the Quagaar version of Eastenders? Or will Sky snap up the rights, leaving us Virgin Media plebs alien soap-less?

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    less-complex life

    ... And one is left with the suspicion that unless it is "less-complex life", then they would rather not make that discovery just yet.

    So many unknown known’s and known unknowns ... may be our ET friends may be able to identify the true location of American Airlines flight 77.

    www. notafreemason .com

  11. Peter


    Perhaps we'll see one soon on "Who wants to be a millionaire?" assuming they can call the premium rate numbers.

    Also, opens a whole new revenue stream for Crapita. All those ETs with no TV license.

  12. Simon

    Life out there...

    "Top British boffins are convinced that evidence of alien life will soon be discovered outside the solar system."

    Does this mean they've already discovered evidence of alien life *inside* the solar system?!

  13. Mike Moyle

    Re: Can we be detected?

    And don't forget planetary rotation. Anyone near Alpha Bootes trying to catch the latest episode of "Benny Hill" have to deal with the fact that the Earth rotated 15 degrees during that hour, bringing Channel 3 out of line and moving some transmitter in Dakar, Senegal into a more direct line.

    (And don't get me started on how much it costs to ship them a set that can switch between PAL, NTSC, and SECAM...!(

    Any aliens trying to figure us out must assume that we have racial ADD.

    (Which could, I suppose, bring us back to "Benny Hill"...)

  14. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    indirect evidence of planets

    Problem I have is so much assumption is being made about these new planets based purely on indirect evidence from some gravitational lensing, star wobbles, etc.

    The kind of atmosphere and type of planet is I think just based on statistical probability, guesswork, and our own solar system trends given the observations.

    It could equally turn out that there are totally different explanations for these observations than them even being planets at all, let alone whether they have a particular type of atmosphere and thus inferring there is intelligent life.

    The artists impressions of these far off planets makes me laugh. Nice, but complete imagination. All they really know is an object of a certain mass is affecting a particular star.

    Direct evidence of intelligent life elsewhere will only come from...

    a) they visit us (if they haven't already)

    b) we visit them (unless we develop warp drive, not for thousands of years yet and only if we actually start off on the journey now which seems unlikely)

    c) we receive a transmission from them

    c is most likely but still would take a situation of them deliberately beaming a very powerful signal out (I don't think even we are doing that to get attention?). We're not about to pick up their version of Eastenders. Even if we do there's little we can really do as communication back takes far too long.

  15. John Stirling

    indirect evidence

    Indirect evidence - like we have for Gravity you mean? We have this *bizarre* explanation that has some concoction of physical warping of spacetime - give me a break. I think fairies with invisible string is far more believable.

    Fundamentally *everything* is indirect - the only physical phenomenon any of us have ever experienced is a pattern of neurons firing in our brain. Assuming that is an accurate description of the thing I'm thinking with. Which you can't of course.

    Everything else is interpretation. I will grant you that these planets could be another phenomenon, but planet is the best interpretation that we have, and it isn't based purely on 'a bit of a wobble and some lensing' anymore. Some very subtle evidence granted, but no more indirect than our view of the outer solar system.

    Statistics play a part - as they do in deciding whether drugs which might save your life are safe or not - statistics properly used are pretty solid evidence.

  16. amanfromMars

    Houston, you have a problem

    "Does this mean they've already discovered evidence of alien life *inside* the solar system?!"

    Yes. I trust that is not ambiguous.:-)

    Take us to URLeader. ........being the Wannabe Leaders problem in that they Control Diddly Squat ......IT is Communications and Media spinning ITs Tales [for their Favours/Investment] which Rule in ChaOS........ Oxymoronic in ITs Faults.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spread betting

    "10 of Britain's top astronomers" spread their bets out over an encyclopedia full of planets over 10 years to speculate that life of some description will be found on one of them? Come on now, you don't have to be a rocket scientist to figure that out.

  18. Damian Gabriel Moran

    never mind the earth rotation breaking the signal

    it will all be repeated on UK Gold at some point anyway

  19. Kenneth


    If aliens pick up programs like 'neigbours' from out TV transmissions they probably wouldnt visit as they'd think we are beyond help

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