Reports that UN is appointing ET ambassador not true

Is the United Nations about to appoint Malaysian astrophysicist Mazlan Othman as the ambassador to extraterrestrial intelligences? Yesterday, the Sunday Times published an article claiming that Othman is expected to announce her proposed new role at a meeting of the Royal Society next week. According to the article, the plan to make Othman and the UN's Office for Outer Space Affairs which she heads, the first point of contact will be debated by UN scientific advisors before heading to the general assembly. Turns out though that the newspaper, and dozens of other media outlets that rewrote the same story, may have jumped to some conclusions. Today, Othman emailed The Guardian, "It sounds really cool but I have to deny it." Besides, if aliens really do reach out, it's likely that the scientists who receive the message will likely call Paul Allen first.

"UN plan for 'alien ambassador' a case of science fiction?"


  1. I’m from Malaysia. I don’t know who this Mazlan Othman is. The name sounds like it can be from here, but it definitely should be a “him” rather than a “her”.

  2. Datuk Dr Mazlan binti (daughter of) Othman is a woman, and any halfway educated Malaysian should have heard of her. She was instrumental in having a Malaysian trained as an astronaut and sent into space.

    Under the naming system employed by Malaysian Muslims, she should of course be referred to as Dr Mazlan. Othman is her father’s name.

    Glenda Noramly

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