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. PaulG

    Remember the 60's Twilight Zone episode "TO SERVE MAN?" Enuff said!

    April 27, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  2. KM

    If they are anything like ourselves, may God have mercy on our souls.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:24 am | Report abuse |
  3. Kurt

    Didn't Marvel comics make a movie like his idea? Fantastic Four Silver Surfer ....what a joke...new ideas not from Hollywood would maybe be more believable.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:25 am | Report abuse |
  4. Rob

    I totally admire Stephan Hawkins and all that he has accomplished in and out of the world of science. That being said he has no scientific proof that aliens if they exist would be pre-disposed to either exploitation or harmonious co-existence. If they exist they certainly have technological advances over humans as well as possible insight in to our possible futures. This in itself could still chime in for either side of the argument, for instance if they exist why haven't they just come and taken what they want already? If they were pre-disposed to exploiting surrounding resources for their species as he suggests would we see signs already? Possibly their are more than one type of alien some supporting a harmonious co-existence and others wanting to take from less advanced species if possible. Their are so many variables such as may be this "advanced" species needs CO2.....well we have extra and don't need it so much....what if they need "organic matter" in the form of waste....they can have it.....right? So I say stay positive and picture a possibly positive encounter with any aliens should it arise and not be quick to push the emergency buttons quite so fast. After all....what can we do to stop them if they do want something of ours? It is better off we proceed with peaceful intentions at least to start with.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  5. I live among you

    Why would I possibly need Stephen Hawking to let me in on the fact that any technologically advanced race that acheives space travel would be interested in anything other than to suck the resources out of this primordial soup we call Earth?

    April 27, 2010 at 9:26 am | Report abuse |
  6. Chris

    I respect Dr. Hawking very much, but in this case it sounds like he's been watching a little too much "Stargate". There's absolutely no reason to jump to conclusions that aliens wouldn't be friendly because they want to harvest our resources. lol Who's to say they even like our resources? Does Dr. Hawking have some kind of evidence that aliens like petroleum? Or that they breathe oxygen? He should stick to science and let James Cameron handle the fiction.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:27 am | Report abuse |
  7. Steve

    Look at this perspective. Jesus is coming back with his angels.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:28 am | Report abuse |
  8. Alex

    Well, if Hawking's aliens possess such sophisticated technology so to enable them to harness energy from stars and open wormholes, it stands to reason that they might also have the technology to harness the raw materials (i.e. elements) from stars. What would they need with a polluted planet such as earth when they could harvest fresh material from the source of all elements – stars?!

    April 27, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  9. Sam,

    Given what we have learned in the past 20 years from Hubble, the odds are that there is other life out there. Is life rare? Certainly yes. If there is life in the milkyway, that would be the easiest place to find it, and most likely where any of it could come from. Moving beyond the Milkyway, if there are millions of galaxies(certaily there is a- lot), with millions of stars like our sun, then there is some form of life out there. The odds of other life are better than any odds in vagas, and since we can't even count how many galaxies are out there, the odds of anything goes way up. Since our studies of Mars showed that microbial life could and has existed on that planet, and potentially other moons of Jupitor, then the life that would most likely exist would be microbial. Finding somthing like us would be very rare to say the least. So we would be looking for odds of life like us being worse that a needle in a hay stack.

    As for warping time and space, there might be too much dark matter in the way to effectively move between places in a theoretical worm hole. Of coarse that is just my opinion, I could be wrong.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:29 am | Report abuse |
  10. pinip

    The observation of Stephen Hawking is quite logical concerning the existence of aliens, and their multiple physioloqic aspect.. even micro-organisms , traveling in space...

    . as they had plenty of time to observe us... how we behave between us... how friendly we are between us... it would be ironic to pretend that we would be friendly... they might have simply been avoiding us for ages...

    ...Usually, when Air force planes are in contact with a ufo... they shoot at it... no...this planet is not a peacefull vacation destination for aliens tourists !!

    April 27, 2010 at 9:30 am | Report abuse |
  11. ET

    Fermi's Paradox "where is everyone"

    I believe aliens exist. could be something OTHER than life itself. We here on earth are limited to what we think aliens could be like by our own understanding of the universe. Given the fact that most of the universe is missing .. perhaps the aliens are busy in other dimensions where oil is more plentiful (hah)

    that chill that runs up your spine is just ET passing through you.

    Since the aliens can travel between stars they are 1000's of years more advanced than us. To put it in real world terms whereby we compare ourselves to the aliens .... humanity is still trying to get off the one mile sq island in the pacific knowing there's a big earth to explore.

    man will long destroy himself long before we manage to get off this planet. Resources are becoming far to limited and the earth far to populated. Earth should be reduced to no more than a billion people if we have any chance of survival.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:34 am | Report abuse |
  12. Estell

    Great, now everyone is paranoid. Personally and this is my human brain thinking here..they would probably want our Sun or even one of the planets in our Solar System. Bad for us, fuel for them. Bad for us because if anything is touched it would mean our instant demise. But what do I know. Not being sarcastic there. I really don't know that much.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:37 am | Report abuse |
  13. Greg

    Luke said it best – they won't be after our fossil fuels!!!

    April 27, 2010 at 9:39 am | Report abuse |
  14. Qwark

    Hey, maybe we are the aliens here sent by our ancestors from a distant region of the universe a billion years ago already. After billions of years certainly more that one biological evolution has occurred somewhere right? Can this little blue planet be the only one? So how advanced will be be in 100 years, how about 1000 years or even a million. Surely we would have been discovered by now. If the earth gets vaporized by some cosmic event, then what. Maybe that has happened already and we are a second evolution. After all, everything came from nothing so It can happen again. Religion aside, maybe there is a creator of all this.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
  15. Pnar

    A likely scenario if an alien species has advanced to the point where they can travel quickly between the stars, is that we have a society which is expanding at an incredible rate.

    The larger the population, the more resources they have control over, the more likely they will be to further advance their species and defend themselves if they encounter rival species. Hence they will most likely try to increase their expansion as quickly as possible, once they have the technology to do so. They will expand at an exponential rate, eventually engulfing entire galaxies rather quickly,

    This creates the scenario where the first species to start this process is most likely to "conquer" the universe. We might be living in a race against time, or we might have already lost this race if some other species started this process millions of years ago.

    The fact that no alien species has started to extract our solarsystem's resources though might mean that:

    1. No alien species has advanced far enough to reach the speeds of expansion I mentioned above,
    2. No alien species has evolved that has the desire to start this expansion, which would mean there are probably very vew advanced species out there, otherwise at least one would have started it.
    3. There is no way to travel that fast, and so an expansion across the physical universe, or even a single galaxy, would take a very very long time regardless of how advanced the civilization is. This is actually a pretty likely scenario.

    Food for thought,

    April 27, 2010 at 9:40 am | Report abuse |
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