Town offers tour package for aliens

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A pit town is putting together a travel package for aliens - just in case any are attracted to visit by a CD-Rom of the area which is being taken to Mars on a mission by the United States' space agency Nasa.

A pit town is putting together a travel package for aliens - just in case any are attracted to visit by a CD-Rom of the area which is being taken to Mars on a mission by the United States' space agency Nasa.

Traders in the tiny village of Bedlington are gearing up for the arrival of little green men after the town's Chamber of Trade replied to an Internet advertisement for material to be included on Nasa's Mars 2001 Lander expedition.

Bedlington Chamber of Trade chairman Malcolm Robinson said the whole town was joining in - but added that it was primarily a light-hearted exercise.

Traders were putting together a package of discounts and special offers for any aliens who made the trip to Northumberland.

There would even be introductory courses on speaking Geordie.

Mr Robinson said: "We are using this to let aliens know about Bedlington - but God knows if they'll understand our accents.

"We'll offer any alien visitors a range of discounts, with pensioner rates for haircuts, and discounts on food and clothing.

"They won't get a warmer welcome anywhere in England."

The town has received a document from Nasa associate administrator Dr Edward Weiler confirming that its details will be on the space flight.

The certificate says: "We wish to thank Bedlington for joining us on this mission of exploration and discovery."

But villagers are taking the possible arrival of aliens in their stride.

One 74-year-old pub regular who was asked what he thought about the arrival of visitors from Mars did not change his expression as he replied: "Aliens? I married a one in 1947."

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