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. Takerna

    I once read a sci-fi short story in which an alien race was involved in interstellar commerce, and they came to Earth before we had even progressed into our own star system. To make such commerce viable, they didn't trade in goods so much as knowledge: they offered 'pills' based on RNA that would allow the overnight absorption of skills, like alien languages or 'how to perform all the duties of a starship commander' (including knowing how the starship's systems worked).
    Because it didn't make sense for them to visit civilizations that weren't of a sufficiently advanced development level, their criterion for coming back was based on whether said civilization could boost them to the next star using an advanced laser propulsion system. If the civilization couldn't do that, the aliens considered them 'animals' and had no qualms against using their star to boost them along by triggering a nova.
    I wish I could remember the story name and author. I've got it somewhere in my library, but can't find it. Gonna have to index that puppy some day.
    Zam, April 27th, 2010 1:17 am ET: Like, think Johnny Depp?
    Aeroman, April 27th, 2010 3:41 am ET: Now that there is funny!!!

    April 27, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  2. Martin L

    I'm surprise to hear this from Mr. Hawking. Just like others stated... if they have the technology to travel near the speed of light or create worm holes or warp drives, I'm sure they have knowledge to produce energy in all kinds of ways.

    Furthermore, you have to be a civilized society and work together to produce advanced technology. So, chances are that alien civilizations would be either neutral or kind of friendly. Because they would have to be extremely civilized to create that far advanced technology.

    Third, trying to be unfriendly against earth? so, they have to get here, slow down, get into orbit and then just blow us up... uh huh... without the entire world noticing and launching a massive counter attack?

    Hawking has been watching too much "Independance Day".

    or.... his disease is unfortunately starting to affect him.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:41 am | Report abuse |
  3. Jay

    Most of you are correct... Aliens probably would not be interested in Earth at all. However, I beleive the point that Hawking was trying to make was that IF aliens did happen to come to Earth, its unlikely that they would be friendly. A peaceful alien race interested in exploration would not be willing to make there presence known or share technology with a savage and war-like civilization.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:43 am | Report abuse |
  4. Fred54

    I'm not worried at all. An Alien smart enough to have the technology needed to travel
    to earth would also have the ability to recognize the terrible contagion we have developed
    here on earth. A concept so destructive and so vile that it is indeed the destroyer of worlds.
    They would have to know that we have.....compound interest....

    April 27, 2010 at 9:48 am | Report abuse |
  5. kari13

    In my opinion, if aliens do exist and statically it would be stupid to think they didn't, I highly doubt they would want to contact us. As a race, as humans, we are systematically destroying our planet, show what so ever no tolerance towards our own fellow humans, have the urge to conquer everything around us, let that be land, the ocean or other humans. We have no respect for our planet and no respect for each other. Honestly if Aliens are so far developed to be able to travel through space, they would have also developed a way to observe us from afar. And if we have been observed I'm almost sure that Aliens have a warning sign put out on the "highway to Earth" stating: STAY AWAY! Primitive and unintelligent animals on the loose! DO NOT APROCH!

    April 27, 2010 at 9:49 am | Report abuse |
  6. cra

    anyone who thinks it would be grand to find E.T. is naive.

    we (as humans) don't get along with our neighbors next door, much less across the ocean.
    We live on the same tiny planet, sharing the same DNA and yet we fight with one another like cavemen.

    What evidence is there that we'd get along with an entirely alien culture with whom we share NOTHING? I fear the day we discover intelligent life – "oh great – yet ANOTHER culture for us to be at war with." First the brits, then the russians, then the germans, then the cubans, then the muslims, then the... aliens? Aliens with advanced technology, mind you?? Great – they'll enslave us and export us to work their plantations on Mars. Wonderful.

    And who would blame them? We've trashed our planet. The answer is not to jump ship and find a new one. The answer is to figure out how to live sustainably, and peacefully on THIS one. If YOU were an alien council you wouldn't let humans leave earth either! Again, what evidence would you have that humanity would be able or willing to responsibly manage whatever planet they make it to? We're locusts. The aliens would swat us with pesticide at the first opportunity.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:50 am | Report abuse |
  7. Gabe

    the last thing aliens want is war with us. we'll destroy them along with ourselves.

    April 27, 2010 at 9:55 am | Report abuse |
  8. Steve

    Even if they are hostile I welcome their arrival to break up the everyday monotony of political bickering here. At least we could witness an amazing event no one on this planet has ever seen before.(Most of the alien movies I have seen are way too much feel good fest with happy endings after we handily destroy the obviously far superior alien forces) We are all born to die but this beats a slow drooling death at the local Happy Acres retirement home.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:03 am | Report abuse |
  9. Takerna

    Fred54 April 27th, 2010 9:48 am ET: Hah, hah, hah, hah 🙂 🙂
    That is the funniest, albeit scariest, post here.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:15 am | Report abuse |
  10. suresh babu

    I agree with Mr. hawkings. i have a question. can aliens adopt to the climate condition on earth. and i heard that aliens may be from titan is it true. If yes, titan is so far from sun, it might receive less sun light and heat from the sun. so how can life grow on titan

    April 27, 2010 at 10:18 am | Report abuse |
  11. NHgirl

    I'm really not worried about space invaders. They would annihilate us in a minute if they wanted. If anything they are concered about the effect we are having beyond our planet. Our junk floating around in space and and nuclear radiation.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:23 am | Report abuse |
  12. Franco

    I think Mr.Hawking's theory is quite f laud , because he assumes that the advance aliens would be govern by the same psychological fears, thinking and insecurities that We humans do.This aliens probably wont be the warmonger, money thirsty, selfish race that we are, other wise they wouldn't have come so far.

    Thats why they are advance and We're not. Maybe they don't see us as a threat simply because we don't posses any REAL knowledge to harm them and i assume they're watching us pretty much like WE watch the animals at the zoo. With curiosity.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:25 am | Report abuse |
  13. J.Crobuzon

    Not well thought out- if they could get here, they probably don't have an energy problem. They would be bored or lonely or something like that, looking for new ideas. Maybe they want Franklin Graham to tell them about his religious views, or Rush to describe the ideal State. But I doubt they'd want our physical stuff . . .

    April 27, 2010 at 10:29 am | Report abuse |
  14. reginald wigginbush

    It's refreshing to see that while doing some great science, Mr. Hawking is also capable of wild conjecture.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:32 am | Report abuse |
  15. anonymous


    Spielberg called. He wants his script from War Of The Worlds back.

    April 27, 2010 at 10:33 am | Report abuse |
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