Aliens eclipse solar system

THREE-quarters of children believe in alien life and a third are convinced one of their teachers is an extra-terrestrial, according to a survey published today.

The study, which set out to discover what youngsters know about space, found that more than nine out of ten 16-year-olds could not name all eight planets in the solar system.

The poll of 1,000 five- to 16-year-olds also found little difference between the planetary knowledge of teenagers and younger children, with 95 per cent of five-year-olds failing to name them all compared with 94 per cent of 16-year-olds.

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Some 21 per cent of 16-year-olds believed in aliens, compared with 7 per cent who believed in Santa Claus and 22 per cent cited meeting aliens as a reason to venture into outer space.

The survey was commissioned by Twentieth Century-Fox Home Entertainment to coincide with the release of the film Aliens in the Attic on DVD.