An essay written by Winston Churchill exploring the possible existence of aliens has been unearthed.
The article, written in 1939, sees the future British prime minister toy with the idea that there could be life beyond Planet Earth.
The typewritten essay, which runs for 11 pages, was never published. though it is thought it was likely to have been intended for a newspaper, possibly the News of the World.
It would have been written as the country was on the brink of World War Two.
He appeared to nod to the building tensions in Europe, the Nature journal reported, saying: “I for one, am not so immensely impressed by the success we are making of our civilisation here that I am prepared to think we are the only spot in this immense universe which contains living, thinking creatures, or that we are the highest type of mental and physical development which has ever appeared in the vast compass of space and time.”
In the piece, titled “Are We Alone In The Universe?”, Churchill follows the “Copernican Principle”, the idea that the universe is so big, it is hard to believe that humans on Earth alone are unique.
Churchill defines life as the ability to “breed and multiply”.
He also discusses the “Goldilocks” region around a star - an area which is neither too hot nor too cold to be habitable.
Churchill also correctly predicted the possibility of space travel, saying: “One day, possibly even in the not very distant future, it may be possible to travel to the moon, or even to Venus or Mars.”
The document was updated in the 1950s but never published, the BBC reported.
It was discovered in the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, by the institution’s new director Timothy Riley last year.
He then passed the essay on to Israeli astrophysicist and author Mario Livio, who has now revealed its contents in an article in Nature journal.
Livio told Space.com: “”I was amazed to see the title of this article, first of all.
“And then I read it and was even more astonished, because I saw that this great politician is musing about a real scientific topic, an intriguing scientific topic, [and] he is reasoning about this in the same way that a scientist today would go about it.”