Feeds

Pope's star watcher to visit Nasa and talk aliens

Unlikely to arrive in Chariot of the Gods

Intelligent flash storage arrays

The Vatican is to go head to head with Nasa over the possibility of life existing anywhere else in the Universe except Earth.

The discussion is actually likely to be rather convivial when Lynn Rothschild, astrobiologist at NASA's Ames Research Center, debates the topic with the Vatican Observatory's director emeritus George Coyne at the Commonwealth Club of San Francisco next week. The chat is happening under the florid banner of Are We Alone? The Dance of the Fertile Universe.

With a title like astrobiologist, one has to assume that Rothschild is at least open to the idea of life on other planets. The agency has been in on the search for extraterrestrial intelligent life since the 1960s. More prosaicly Nasa's missions as a rule keep a look out for life - or at least the building blocks of life - while tearing around the solar system.

The Catholic Church, perhaps surprisingly, is also somewhat open to the idea of life on other planets, with the current head of the Vatican observatory, José Gabriel Funes, conceding the possibility of extra-terrestrial life just last May.

He told the Holy See's in-house rag: "It is possible, even if until now, we have no proof. But certainly in such a big universe this hypothesis cannot be excluded."

Of course, the Church's interest in aliens is as much about their relationship with God and sin. It may be that they are in full communion with the creator - having never nibbled any solar forbidden fruit.

Alternatively - and perhaps much more likely - they could be sinners, and therefore in need of redemption through the ministrations of the Church. Just like us, in fact. Assuming of course they don't all come and eat us first.

Whether the conversation will stray into the likelihood of ET needing redemption is not guaranteed, and it's probably a fair bet neither party will endorse the idea that humans picked up the building blocks of technology from visiting aliens, who will stage a second coming at some point. Which is a pity.

The lecture itself will take place at NASA's Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley on February 19, at 6.30pm. Tickets will cost $10 for Commonwealth Club members and $15 for non-members. More information here. ®

Choosing a cloud hosting partner with confidence

More from The Register

next story
SECRET U.S. 'SPACE WARPLANE' set to return from SPY MISSION
Robot minishuttle X-37B returns after almost 2 years in orbit
LOHAN crash lands on CNN
Overflies Die Welt en route to lively US news vid
'Utter killjoy Reg hacks have NEVER BEEN LAID', writes a fan
'Shuddit, smarty pants!' Some readers reacted badly to our last Doctor Who review ...
Experts brand LOHAN's squeaky-clean box
Phytosanitary treatment renders Vulture 2 crate fit for export
Carry On Cosmonaut: Willful Child is a poor taste Star Trek parody
Cringeworthy, crude and crass jokes abound in Steven Erikson’s sci-fi debut
White LED lies: It's great, but Nobel physics prize-winning great?
How artificial lighting could offer an artificial promise
Origins of SEXUAL INTERCOURSE fished out of SCOTTISH LAKE
Fossil find proves it first happened 385 million years ago
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why cloud backup?
Combining the latest advancements in disk-based backup with secure, integrated, cloud technologies offer organizations fast and assured recovery of their critical enterprise data.
Win a year’s supply of chocolate
There is no techie angle to this competition so we're not going to pretend there is, but everyone loves chocolate so who cares.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Intelligent flash storage arrays
Tegile Intelligent Storage Arrays with IntelliFlash helps IT boost storage utilization and effciency while delivering unmatched storage savings and performance.