Fearing an alien invasion? It is not likely to happen!
The discovery of planets supporting alien life may be possible within the next 50 years, however, it is likely that extra terrestrials will find Earth too "boring" to bother with, renowned UK astronomer Sir Patrick Moore has claimed.
"I am sure there is life out there. We cannot be the only ones. I don't think we would be on any [aliens] tourist list. We are a pretty boring planet, orbiting a boring star," Moore was quoted by the Daily Mail as saying.
Asked if recent discoveries of new planets beyond our solar system meant we were closer to discovering evidence of alien life in the next 50 years, he said, "Yes. We are not far off".
"We have found other planets. The next stage is to detect the atmosphere. You can [then] work out if it has oxygen. We would know that supports life so we can look for it," he said at the launch of his new book 'The Cosmic Tourist'.
The 89-year-old added he expected people, who could afford it, to become space tourists to the Moon, Mars and perhaps the outer reaches of the solar system by the end of the century.
Sir Patrick wrote 'The Cosmic Tourist', with his Sky at Night colleague, Dr Chris Lintott, from Oxford University, and Queen star Brian May, who has a PHD in Astrophysics, and is a close friend.
Lintott said that Virgin Galactic's venture into space tourism would take off and people would pay to travel beyond earth.
Virgin Galactic is a company within Richard Branson's Virgin Group which plans to provide sub-orbital spaceflights to space tourists.
"I can certainly imagine people paying to go to the Moon or Mars. Further than the solar system and you will have to wait a while. To get to the nearest stars would take tens of thousands of years," Lintott said.
This week Lintott has announced the discovery of a new planet, PH1, which is around 5,000 light years away.
It is believed to be six times the size of Earth, and has four suns in its sky - it orbits two, and is in turn circled by a pair.
Last month, the Queen's astronomer Lord Rees explained that developments in astronomy mean that astrophysicists could be able to view images of distant planets outside of our solar system as soon as 2025, and potentially discover whether there is some form of life on them.
"Within 10 or 20 years we will be able to image other planets like the earth, orbiting other stars. That will be a really exciting subject to see if there is evidence for [extra-terrestrial] life or not," he said.