17:57 16 February 2017
Winston Churchill popular science article in which he mused about the likelihood of extra-terrestial life has been recently unearthed. The 11-page type draft written in 1939 before the World War Two broke out was never published and was instead passed to a US museum where it sat until its rediscovery last year.
The document was uncovered by the director of the National Churchill Museum, Timothy Riley who passed it to author Mario Livio who described the contents in the Nature journal.
He said: "[Mr Riley] said, 'I would like you to take a look at something.' He gave me a copy of this essay by Churchill. I saw the title, Are We Alone in the Universe? and I said, 'What? Churchill wrote about something like this?'"
Churchill had considered the likelihood that stars would host planets and that some would be “at the proper distance from their parent sun to maintain a suitable atmosphere.” He also outlined the narrow region around a star now know as “Goldilocks” zone. His essay also correctly predicted great opportunities for the exploration of the Solar System.
"One day, possibly even in the not very distant future, it may be possible to travel to the Moon, or even to Venus and Mars," Churchill wrote.
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