Are Aliens Among The Stars?

Kedleston Road campus 504x257 Are Aliens Among The Stars?

Date posted: 14 October 2010

Is there anybody out there - and if so, will it be possible to talk to them?

These are the intriguing questions raised by the speaker for this year's Flamsteed Lecture, to be held at the University of Derby on Wednesday October 20 (2010).

The annual free public University event is named after the 17th century Derbyshire scientist and Britain's first Astronomer Royal, John Flamsteed.

Since it was founded in 1996 the lectures have been delivered by eminent scientific speakers such as Sir Martin (now Lord) Rees, President of the Royal Society; Professor Colin Pillinger, former head of the European Mars Express mission 'Beagle 2'; and last year, former NASA shuttle astronaut Dr Jeff Hoffman.

This year's lecturer will be Professor Martin Barstow - Pro Vice-Chancellor, and Professor of Astrophysics and Space Science at the University of Leicester - who will speak on: The real science of extra-terrestrial life.

Professor Barstow was closely involved with the development of the National Space Centre, helping to develop its space education programme for schools, and has lectured at the Royal Astronomical Society in London.

His talk at 6.30pm on Wednesday October 20 (2010) in The Courtroom (Room OL2) at the University of Derby's Kedleston Road site, in Derby, will look at the conditions necessary to allow life to begin on other planets in the solar system and how we might find it on worlds orbiting other stars.

Professor Barstow said: "The search for life in the solar system and beyond is no longer science fiction. We now have the technology to answer the burning question... are we alone?"

"In my lecture I will look at the discovery of planets outside our solar system and discuss the chances of finding intelligent life elsewhere in the galaxy. While we can be sure that there is no intelligent life on other planets in the solar system, we don't know if any harbour more basic forms of life.

"We will look at Mars as the most likely host for simple life forms and outline the experiments, being built right now, that will finally tell us whether or not life exists there."

This lecture will be free and open to all but to be sure of a seat reserve your place online now at, or contact Angela Drinkwater in the University's Marketing Department on 01332 591046, or email:

For further information please contact Press and PR Officer Sean Kirby on 01332 591891 or 07876 476103, or email

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