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Thursday, September 17, 1998 Published at 15:58 GMT 16:58 UK


The truth is out there

Claims of UFO sightings will be examined by students

It's study, Jim, but not as we know it.

The BBC's Jason Kaye reports on the new course
Up to 100 students are preparing to join Britain's first university course on extra-terrestrials.

They will examine the search for alien life and claims of sightings as part of their degree studies.

The BSc degree module Life in the Universe, which is being offered by the University of Glamorgan in South Wales, will also look at the way extra terrestrials are portrayed in popular culture.

[ image: Students will look at whether extra-terrestrials have ever visited Earth]
Students will look at whether extra-terrestrials have ever visited Earth
Popular television series like The X-Files and Star Trek will be looked at, as will films including ET and Lost in Space.

But the astronomy lecturer who will teach the module says the film Contact - starring Jodie Foster - is essential viewing for his students.

"It deals with what will happen when we do make contact with extra-terrestrials," said Dr Mark Brake, who is convinced that we are not alone in the universe.

"There's a high probability that there's life on other planets. It's more than likely that they will be more intelligent than us."

Dr Brake says the course has been designed offer a rigorous scientific analysis of extra-terrestrial life.

"The main question is whether aliens have ever visited earth."

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