According to the Telegraph, Mazlan Othman, a Malaysian astrophysicist and current head of the UN’s Office for Outer Space Affairs (Unoosa), is “set to be tasked with co-ordinating humanity’s response if and when extraterrestrials make contact.”

Aliens who landed on earth and asked: “Take me to your leader” would be directed to Mrs Othman.

She will set out the details of her proposed new role at a Royal Society conference in Buckinghamshire next week.

The 58-year-old is expected to tell delegates that the proposal has been prompted by the recent discovery of hundreds of planets orbiting other starts, which is thought to make the discovery of extraterrestrial life more probable than ever before.

(Thanks, Cindy.)

The deeply head-scratching part of this is that, supposedly, under the Outer Space Treaty on 1967, “UN members agreed to protect Earth against contamination by alien species by ‘sterilising’ them.” Yes, yes, welcome to Earth, happy you got here in one piece and all that, it’s just that, well, please step into my office and put your feet–are those feet?–in these nice cold stirrups.

Yes, just forty or so years ago, sensible people in suits were formulating this as policy. I marvel at human weirdness.

I also wonder what Othman’s business card looks like.