Original URL: http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/01/29/sun_ufo_files/
Sun takes over MoD's UFO bureau
Martian eggface prof Pillinger endorses soaraway plan
Renowned British tabloid the Sun has pledged to take on the task of running the nation's UFO-report bureau after cash-strapped Ministry of Defence chiefs closed it down last year. The paper says its public-spirited move has been endorsed by famous Mars-prang eggface prof Colin Pillinger.
The Currant Bun proudly announces Pillinger's backing - and that of NASA boffin Christopher McKay - in a searing report today. Giving background, the tabloid says:
Ministry of Defence chiefs secretly axed the department that investigated UFOs last month.
The axing wasn't actually very secret, having been announced on the MoD website. Nor did the "department" - actually a single low-ranking desk officer - "investigate" anything: it merely recorded UFO reports sent in to it. But no matter. "The Sun has picked up the baton" in a "bold bid to record alien activity in the UK".
"The Sun is right to keep the UFO files going," Professor Pillinger told the paper. Pillinger is most famous for his personal leadership of the Beagle 2 Mars lander project, which saw the £44m machine - after a colossally expensive journey to the red planet aboard a European spacecraft - completely cock up its mission, failing to make radio contact after being dropped towards the Martian surface. Its fate remains unknown to this day.
But the unlucky prof reckons that Sun-readers might help fill the gap in Blighty's knowledge of outer space.
"You have an army of readers who could flag up something extraordinary," he told the paper.
"Even if it is not alien life, it could be a meteorite which are of great value to the scientific community.
"Just because we do not understand something does not mean it is not true."
NASA boffin Chris McKay - famed for advocating plans to "bring Mars back to life" and described by the paper as "a NASA extra-terrestrial investigator" - also endorsed the Currant Bun's UFO service.
"I think it is only natural as a human to wander [sic] whether there is life outside of Earth," he apparently said. ®