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In space, no-one can see you cringe

It's been a good week for - aliens

Don't be afraid. Don't be very afraid at all. Alien life in far-off planets is protected by BBC health and safety guidelines. Professor Brian Cox claims BBC bosses wouldn't let him try to listen to a newly discovered planet on the show Stargazing Live in case aliens breached the corporation's editorial guidelines.

The planet, Threapleton Holmes B, was discovered by amateur stargazers during a project publicised on the BBC2 programme. The celebrity physicist claimed the idea of listening to the planet live on air caused a stir at the corporation.

He told BBC 6 Music: "We decided that we'd point the telescope at the planet that had been discovered by these two viewers and listen because you never know. The BBC actually said, 'But you can't do that because we need to go through the regulations and health and safety and everything in case we discover a signal from an alien civilisation'."

He went on: "You mean we would discover the first hint that there is other intelligent life in the universe beyond Earth, live on air, and you're worried about the health and safety of it?"

Good to know that the BBC are such sticklers for health and safety. Meanwhile, you've got to wonder if they've lost a few episodes of Doctor Who up there. Or maybe they're just a bit behind in issuing intergalactic licence fees.

It's been a bad week for - aliens

Our extraterrestrial pals might be getting a little jumpy. Their glorious galactic isolation is not what it was.

Astronomers have spotted another potentially habitable planet – and it's not that far away. Rumour has it that Ryanair could get us there in no time (as long as we don't have any luggage).

Research to appear in Astronomy & Astrophysics has found three planets – among them a "super-Earth" seven times our Earth's mass, in the habitable zone where liquid water can exist.

Many more studies will be needed to confirm other similarities. But the find joins an increasing list of more than 800 known exoplanets, and it seems only a matter of time before astronomers spot an "Earth 2.0" – a rocky planet with an atmosphere circling a Sun-like star in the habitable zone.

So, watch out aliens. Global warming, economic disaster and the BBC could be coming to a place near you soon. Time to be very afraid.

Contextual targeting label: 
Health

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