(AFP) – Sep 28, 2010
VIENNA — The United Nations Office for Outer Space Affairs on Tuesday dismissed as "nonsense" a newspaper report which said it had appointed a new ambassador as a point of contact for extra-terrestrials.
"The article in the Sunday Times is nonsense," UNOOSA said in a statement, referring to a report this weekend which said the UN was to appoint Malaysian astrophysicist, Mazlan Othman, to be the first contact for any aliens.
Othman heads UNOOSA, a little-known department of the UN based in Vienna with a staff of 27.
Under a mandate defined by the UN General Assembly, UNOOSA's task is to promote international cooperation in the peaceful uses of outer space and strengthen the use of space science and technology applications.
"There are no plans to change the current mandate," the statement said.
According to the Sunday Times article, Othman was set to describe her potential new role as chief alien ambassador next week at a scientific conference at the Royal Society's Kavli conference centre in Buckinghamshire, England.
But UNOOSA also rejected this.
Othman would use the conference to "raise awareness" about topics such as space debris, asteroids, "as well as the annual World Space Week celebrations from October 4-10."
In an interview with AFP a year ago, Othman had joked that the UN Secretary General would be the one to "represent mankind ... if we do make contact with aliens."
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