You may have noticed the occasional headline about aliens over the past few days. The offworld paparazzi are out in force, speculating on the possibilities of alien life. We can thank the Royal Society, who are hosting a conference called 'The detection of extra-terrestrial life and the consequences for science and society' at their London HQ. The key Earthlings with expertise in alien hunting are in town.
Chief among them is Frank Drake who, half a century ago, devised his eponymous equation for determining the number of intelligent civilisations in the galaxy (recently corrupted for love hunting). Drake told the meeting that the digital switchover is making us less visible to our putative alien neighbours. Modern broadcasting technology is far less 'noisy' than the 80-year shell of analogue TV and radio signals emanating from our planet.
Meanwhile, Professor Simon Conway Morris of Cambridge University reckons that aliens would look much like us. Science reporter Adam Rutherford begs to differ. But both agree that any alien life would have formed by Darwinian processes.
In other stories, Arizona State University's Paul Davies reiterated his ideas about looking for alien life on this planet. Perhaps, thinks Davies, microbes of extra-terrestrial origin are already on Earth just waiting to be discovered. Other scientists called for a more proactive push to make contact - sending out an interstellar hello.
The conference comes in the Royal Society's much-trumpeted 350th anniversary year. The blanket media coverage of this meeting is a stellar start, with stories popping up like tentacles of the erotic proboscobeast from Omicron Theta.