This article was published in the daily newspaper The Lincolnshire Echo, Lincoln, Lincolnshire, U-K., on August 30, 2005.
Would You Offer ET A Nice Cup Of Tea?
Eight out of 10 people believe that aliens exist - and some want to invite them in for a cup of tea.
A new survey has show that Britain is a nation of believers when it comes to otherworldly sightings.
The results have struck a chord with people in Lincolnshire, which has a high number of alleged UFO sightings.
One in 15 people believe they have seen a UFO and half would like to experience life on another planet.
Nine per cent of people would invite any aliens they saw in for a drink.
The figures come from a survey by the Science Museum ahead of a new exhibit, The Science of Aliens.
Horncastle-based astronomer Paul Money said the figure did not surprise him at all.
"I think alien belief has become a lot more common in the last 10 years," he said.
"It's partly due to much more science fiction exploring the possibility of aliens.
"It's also down to more and more new planets being discovered outside our solar system.
"At the moment the problem with exploration is that the galaxy is so big that it would take 100,000 years to get to some planets.
"However, even here on earth we have mayflies that have a lifespan of a few hours and us who can have a lifespan of up to 100 years.
"So I see no reason why some aliens couldn't have a lifespan measured in thousands of years. Then it would be possible for them to travel to earth."
Documents show that in the last five years there have been seven sightings in Lincolnshire which cannot be easily dismissed or explained away.
In November 2001 a resident of Gonerby, near Grantham, reported that his house started to shake and he lost power when a mysterious "glowing object" appeared in the sky above it.
Another resident said they saw a "speeding light" which turned 180 degrees back on itself instantaneously.
A Lincoln resident also wrote to the Echo saying that he had seen a UFO hovering over Lincoln Cathedral.
The Ministry of Defence keeps records of UFO sightings, but does not investigate them.
The new exhibition opens at the Science Museum in London in October.
It explores the search for alien life and attempts to distinguish science from science fiction.
Exhibition content manager Stephen Foulger said: "It's very interesting that, like me, so many people think aliens exist.
"I find it almost impossible to believe that life has not evolved somewhere else in such a vast universe.
"The exhibition is a fascinating way to explore the very real possibilities for alien life and discover that science can be stranger than fiction."