Second Earth?

William Hill said it had shortened the odds on proof of extra-terrestrial life within a year from 1,000/1 to 100/1.

Yesterday a team of European researchers revealed the existence of Gliese 581c – a planet 20.5 light years away with conditions thought to be the most conducive for life of so far discovered.

It is the first planet discovered outside the Solar System that is both rocky and has a temperature range that would allow water to exist in liquid form – a key precursor for life. Graham Sharpe, a spokesman for William Hill, said that if alien life was discovered beyond doubt tomorrow his company would be facing loses of around £1 million.

He said the bet is William Hill’s third most popular "novelty bet", behind the Second Coming (1000/1) and the return of Elvis (5000/1).

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"We would face a possible eight figure payout if it were to be confirmed that intelligent life of extra-terrestrial origin currently exists.

"We felt we had to react to the news that an Earth-like planet which could support intelligent life had been discovered - after all, we don’t know for sure that intelligent extra-terrestrial life has not already been discovered, but is being hushed up."

"We have come a cropper before when, in the early 60s, we offered 1000/1 about man walking on the moon before 1970 and ended up paying out the equivalent of a million pounds, including £10,000 to the first man to place such a bet, David Threlfall."

For William Hill to pay out the Prime Minister has to officially confirm the existence of intelligent extra-terrestrial life within a year of the bet being placed.

Gliese 581c orbits a red dwarf star, has a radius 1.5 times that of Earth and five times the mass.

Scientists at the SETI (Search for Extra-Terrestrial Life) Institute in the US plan to listen for intelligent signals from the star system.

Dr Seth Shostak, a spokesman for SETI said: "The older the star is, maybe the greater the chance that it has produced something that’s clever."

Second Earth? Second Earth? Reviewed by Bobby on 7:27 AM Rating: 5

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