The Vatican has hosted a conference to study the possibility of alien life in the universe and its implication for the Catholic Church.
The study was part of events marking the UN-designated International Year of Astronomy.
The Rev Jose Gabriel Funes, director of the Vatican Observatory, said “the questions of life’s origins and of whether life exists elsewhere in the universe are very suitable and deserve serious consideration”.
He presented the results of a five-day conference that gathered astronomers, physicists, biologists and other experts to discuss the budding field of astrobiology – the study of the origin of life and its existence elsewhere in the cosmos.
Funes said the possibility of alien life raises “many philosophical and theological implications” but added that the gathering was mainly focused on the scientific perspective and how different disciplines can be used to explore the issue.