The aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.
The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.
Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.
We are certainly not alone, says Prof Hawking, who was speaking at George Washington University in honour of the 50th anniversary of the US space agency, Nasa, and called for new investment in manned space exploration.
In his address, he tackled the big questions about extraterrestrial life.
Why has humanity not stumbled onto alien broadcasts, maybe something like “alien quiz shows?”
One option is that there likely is no life elsewhere. Or maybe there is intelligent life elsewhere, but when it gets smart enough to send signals into space, it also is smart enough to make destructive nuclear weapons.
He concludes: “Primitive life is very common and intelligent life is fairly rare,” but adds: “Some would say it has yet to occur on Earth.”
So should people worry about aliens? Alien abduction claims come from “weirdos” and are unlikely.
However, because alien life might not have DNA like earthlings, Prof Hawking warned: “Watch out if you would meet an alien. You could be infected with a disease with which you have no resistance.”
The Cambridge University cosmologist suffers from motor neuron disease, speaking by activating a voice synthesiser with a cheek muscle, believes “if the human race is to continue for another million years, we will have to boldly go where no one has gone before.”