ET phone Rome: Vatican hosts alien life study

The study was part of events marking the UN-designated International Year of
Astronomy.

“The questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the
universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration,” said the Rev.
Jose Gabriel Funes, an astronomer and director of the Vatican Observatory.

Chris Impey, an astronomy professor at the University of Arizona, said it was
appropriate that the Vatican would host such a meeting.

“Both science and religion posit life as a special outcome of a vast and
mostly inhospitable universe,” he told a news conference Tuesday. “There is
a rich middle ground for dialogue between the practitioners of astrobiology
and those who seek to understand the meaning of our existence in a
biological universe.”

Thirty scientists, including non-Catholics, from the U.S., France, Britain,
Switzerland, Italy and Chile attended the conference, called to explore
among other issues “whether sentient life forms exist on other worlds.”

Funes set the stage for the conference a year ago when he discussed the
possibility of alien life in an interview given prominence in the Vatican’s
daily newspaper.

* Source: The Belfast Telegraph.

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