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A newly unearthed essay by Winston Churchill reveals he was open to the possibility of life on other planets. In 1939, the year World War Two broke out, Churchill penned a popular science article in which he mused about the likelihood of extra-terrestrial life. The 11-page typed draft, probably intended for a newspaper, was updated in the 1950s but never published. In the 1980s, the essay was passed to a US museum, where it sat until its rediscovery last year. The document was uncovered in the National Churchill Museum in Fulton, Missouri, by the institution's new director Timothy Riley. Mr Riley then passed it to the Israeli astrophysicist and author Mario Livio who describes the contents in the latest issue of Nature journal. Churchill's interest in science is well-known: he was the first British prime minister to employ a science adviser, Frederick Lindemann, and met regularly with scientists such as Sir Bernard Lovell, a pioneer of radio astronomy. This documented engagement with the scientific community was partly related to the war effort, but he is credited with funding UK laboratories, telescopes and technology development that spawned post-war discoveries in fields from molecular genetics to X-ray crystallography.