April 26th, 2010
11:15 PM ET

Aliens probably no friends of yours, Hawking says

Think you'd like to see aliens make contact with Earth?  Stephen Hawking might get you to think again.

Aliens, the way he sees it, might be traveling the cosmos right now - not for exploration's sake but because they've run out of resources at home.

And if they're flying around looking for resources, guess what their intentions would be if they see Earth?

The British physicist advances his thoughts on aliens in his new Discovery Channel series, "Into the Universe With Stephen Hawking," which began airing Sunday.

In a video clip on Discovery Channel's website, Hawking imagines that aliens might have the technology to harness energy from whatever star they're near. The process, he proposes, could open a wormhole that could let them travel large distances - perhaps to here.

The clip shows spacecraft leaving a wormhole and approaching Earth as ominous music plays.

"Like us, they would probably have evolved from a species used to exploiting whatever it can," a narrator says.

Hawking's warning contrasts with the excitement some are showing about the search for extraterrestrial intelligence. Just last week, the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) said it was releasing its data to astronomers and researchers all over the world, hoping more people would join the search.

Hawking's series on the Discovery Channel continues this coming Sunday at 9 p.m.  ET.

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Filed under: Space • Technology
soundoff (262 Responses)
  1. troisieme

    There is no evidence for aliens. Hawking knows more physics than I do, but he knows nothing more about human nature than anybody else. And this is the sole basis on which he dares to assign character to hypothetical beings.

    We actually have no idea at all about how evolution might work on other planets. The results of evolution on our own earth are highly subject to chance events, such as collisions with asteroids, epidemics, volcanic eruptions, etc. In a real sense it cannot be said that even the existence of humans was destined in the laws of nature. For billions of years of evolution on earth there were no people. If it had not been for the titanic events of 65,000 years ago that brought about the extinction of dinosaurs, there would be very few mammals and probably no apes or humans. And if the direction we are headed is considered, there might not be any people a thousand years from now.

    In short Hawking is just revealing his ignorance of biology in making these wild speculations. It does science no service for him to offer ideas in a domain of which he knows no more than any layman.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:08 am | Report abuse |
  2. Joseph

    I would have to agree with this statement. While it is true that we as humans exploit heavily our resources, we also have a large number of untapped resources, such as hydrocarbons in canada and alaska. To think that an exterestrial race which is sentient and in any way as flawed as humans would be peaceful and give us stuff for free is insanity. In a best-case scenario, they would respect us as a sentient race and trade with us. Worst case scenario they anihalate the human race and exploit the eart for thair own purposes. Most likely scenario is a mix of the two, that they would enslave the human race and exploit the resources of the earth, as we are no where near as advanced as their civilization.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:11 am | Report abuse |
  3. Monty Gaither

    Any intellegent life would have to have evolved thru some form of Survival of the fittest scenario. So it is likely that they would be more like the aliens in V than the alien in ET. That is just an opinion based on logical deduction.

    Professor Hawking is using probability to show that life outside our solar system exists and our knowledge of how life evovled here to show the most likely results of life out there.

    For our species to survive beyond the existance of our solar system we will need to colonize other solar systems. Even within the time our solar system still exists, the way we use up our resources we will eventually have to look to other planets and/or solar systems to get the resources that we will need to continue to prosper here.

    We can always hope that any advance life that finds us has ways to meet their needs without taking what they need from here, but we must be aware of the possibility that they will be roaming the universe looking for new places to inhabit or for resources to continue their own survival.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:12 am | Report abuse |
  4. rjw

    They're not going to be like the "borg", or like "aliens"...what Hawking is really saying is that aliens – if they exist – are likely to be like us humans: opportunistic resource hogs. It's not necessarily that they'll seem unfriendly when they get here, it's that they'll probably have the technology to win the contest for resources (they will have successfully performed interstallar flight, after all)...and where will that leave us?

    April 27, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |

    Who is to say that anything earth has maybe valuable to them? Oil, water, gold, and etc? I believe that they are species more advanced than us and some not so advanced as us. We are being watched and have been watched for centuries, but to travel light years past a million planets to get to ours only to destroy it and us would serve what purpose? Lets say thats earth oxygen may be like breathing acid to them then why waste the energy and waste the time to get here. Heck I belive that they have loooked past earth centuries ago. You must understand that they are planets out there that are 20 times the size of earth with 20 times the resources with no inhabitants. Heck they probaly could show us 10 or 15 planets that is exactly like ours. In other words wo are we?

    April 27, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  6. wittejoe

    I find it fascinating that this "king nerd" (yes he's a genius, but still a nerd) is talking about aliens, when we have no proof of life outside of Earth. How in the WORLD does he know A) if there is life outside of Earth B) if it's friendly or not?

    I think this guy is making this stuff up, and all the "nerdlings" buy in to it because you WANT to believe in some alien form.

    Lets focus on our world, we have enough problems here.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:13 am | Report abuse |
  7. Dr Bob

    Dr. Hawking is, in this instance, showing his genius as an entertainer. That is the point of his series – to entertain and perhaps educate a bit. Just look at the SIZE of this list of posts. His single comment that they will come to harvest resources has generated a ton of comments and intense interest. I agree with others who have commented that Earth probably would be a most inefficient source of resources. That leaves curiosity, but since we broadcast everything about ourselves (being the narcissistic primitives we are), there is no reason to visit if curiosity is the motivation. I think they would quietly avoid us as little more than an unnecessary hassle – not unlike how most of us treat our neighbors.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:15 am | Report abuse |
  8. Btea

    I agree with Iwanttobelieve. There is no other life in this universe because of sin. Sin affected everything in this universe, and it would be unfair for another race of people to suffer because of what happened on earth! If God did create another human form, it would not have been in this universe, but one outside of this one. Maybe in that one, they obeyed God's command, and everything in that universe is perfect. But one thing for sure, he would have made it where they would have no contact with this universe whatsoever! We did not get here by chance or evolution as people like Hawkins want to insist. In their belief, since we supposedly evolved here on earth by chance, then the same thing happened somewhere else in the universe. These people don't believe in God, so they keep this sort of fiction going! Keeps the imagination going, and definelty keeps the federal grants coming in! There are no other life forms in this universe! We are it because of sin.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  9. bigmike

    Read "Battlefield Earth." 1000x better than the movie and it explores this very notion.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:16 am | Report abuse |
  10. Brian

    If they are friendly, let's just hope they don't decide to make First Contact in Arizona....

    April 27, 2010 at 9:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. Cavemanstyle

    Aliens would be a threat. Also, time travel is impossible. You can go back in time via a recording of memories, which renders altering the past impossible, but also you cannot travel forward in time because it hasn't happened yet. If it were, beings would travel to the end, or beginning of time, which is impossible. Time and the size of the universe is infinite. If the universe had a boundary, it would have a shape, but the this is not true. Yes, the matter that we see is expanding and travelling away from itself, but we are only measuring the distance to these objects from what we see through telescopes, not the actual size of space itself. I have come to the conclusion, that the past and the future can never be altered because of the laws of constants in the universe. Also, all matter in the universe is the same age. If the moon was created 5 billion years ago, that doesn't mean the matter that it was created from isn't as old as the beginning of time itself. Therefore, all matter in the universe is the same age. Last but not least, wormholes are impossible.. even if they were created, only energy itself could pass through, nothing physical. That is why light has both wave and particle properties, so that it can carry information with it. In order to travel from point A to point B in the universe, the portals would have to be connected first by physically transferring the portal to point B, then activated.. there's not way to travel from point A to point B instantaneously without a point of reference....

    April 27, 2010 at 9:19 am | Report abuse |
  12. David

    I'm not sure that all aliens would be unfriendly. I believe that in the different dimensions exist alien lifeforms that both can be positive and negative. I believe they are not coming, but already are here, and operating within most of the worlds politics and governments. I believe that its being done by negative entities. I believe that a large majority of aliens are here to try and save us from this imprisonment. In the 1960's, a list compiled by most countries on abductees was compiled and out of the thousands of findings, most said they were here to try and save us.. so I don't know...

    David Icke has alot of good material that goes along with much of what I already thought..

    April 27, 2010 at 9:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. SoulCatcher

    Our world still has a rich and diverse form of life. DNA could be a valuable resource to an Alien species that has problems reproducicing or is suffering from lack of viable gene pool.

    Perrhaps some allien abduction stories have some truth. I believe the manipulation would be at the genetic leval and would be very subtle.

    If I had to guess we already were contacted by a race who had bad experiences with Dinosaurs and whiped them out. Maybe they are like cuddly kittens or dogs that they have cultivated in us?


    April 27, 2010 at 9:22 am | Report abuse |
  14. skieBlu

    Remember the Pioneer plaque and the Voyager Golden Record? These were communications attached to spacecraft in the 70s showing directions and the sights and sounds of Earth. I think it was Carl Sagan's idea. No one at NASA asked the American people if they agreed with sending the map into space, which made me very angry at the time. If an alien visit happens, then it just does. We would have to examine our xenophobic tendencies and hope for the best. But there's no reason to invite them over. Didn't your mother tell you never talk to strangers? Hawkings's mom must have offered that sage advice.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
  15. ron

    "its a cookbook"

    April 27, 2010 at 9:23 am | Report abuse |
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