April 26, 2010

Hawking Warns Against Contacting Aliens

Aliens most likely exist, but our attempts to contact them could have catastrophic results, British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking told British reporters on Sunday.

Hawking, speaking to The Times to promote his new series 'Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking', said, "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational"¦ The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

"If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," the 68-year-old scientist warned, according to the AFP.

"We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn't want to meet," Hawking concluded, according to the Register. "I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."

Previous attempts to contact extraterrestrial lifeforms date back to the 1970s, according to AFP. In 1972 and 1973, two American probes--Pioneer 10 and Pioneer 11--were launched along with plaques of a man and a woman and a symbolic map of the Earth's location. In 1977, Voyager 1 and 2 carried recordings of sounds and images into space, and in 2008, NASA projected a recording of the Beatles song "Across the Universe" towards Polaris, where it will arrive in the year 2439.

'Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking' is a three part program that airs on the Discovery Channel in the United States. The episode on aliens, which was part one, premiered on April 25 and was followed by the second part, which covered time travel. The final installment will air on May 2 at 9:00pm EDT.


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