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. Jim D.

    While Hawking is likely right that any spacefaring culture would be used to exploiting resources, just like ours does, the rest of the uninhabited Solar System contains far more resources, far more easily accessed by a space-going culture than the resources sitting at the bottom of the gravity-well that is Earth. To creatures that did not evolve here, our planet is most likely no more hospitable than Mars or Venus is to us, and the energy costs of extracting materials from planet Earth would be far greater than mining the asteroids, Moon, Oort cloud and comets. It's entirely probably that a true spaceborne culture could well invade the Solar System and ignore Earth entirely as a pointless and expensive mudball inhabited by primitives.

    April 27, 2010 at 4:25 am | Report abuse |
  2. ThatsSad

    I'm disappointed in Stephen Hawking for having such a negative view. I doubt aliens are as cruel as us! If anything, they are probably 100-fold more spiritually enlightened than we will be anytime soon!

    April 27, 2010 at 4:35 am | Report abuse |
  3. L.P.

    "Hawking imagines that aliens might have the technology to harness energy from whatever star they're near."

    If that's true, then they would also have the technology to harness resources from a variety of sources which would not have to include habitable planets. Harnessing the power of a star would also provide enough power to pretty much create whatever resources they needed without having to travel across the galaxy.

    April 27, 2010 at 4:42 am | Report abuse |
  4. Huw Thomas

    ....and what sort of resources do we have that they might want?

    April 27, 2010 at 4:55 am | Report abuse |
  5. Fred

    Fascinating. Why would such an advanced civilization be interested in worlds already exploited? Bad R&D department, I guess.

    April 27, 2010 at 4:58 am | Report abuse |
  6. Nation of Trust

    I agree with Hawking.
    Although, I've always imagined alien life form to be the extension of our primative natural state. By this, I mean that if in fact aliens did exist, they would exhibit the similar characteristics of human history in that we use the weaker forms as slaves and cheap labor.

    When the day comes if aliens have the technology to travel this far, they clearly have the weaponry to accommodate.

    on that day, be ready to be slaves guys lol

    April 27, 2010 at 5:02 am | Report abuse |
  7. William

    I agree with Stephen. It doesn't take a genius to do that! And I don't want my offspring to become worker bees to mine the Earth for its precious minerals for some wicked alien species that does not respect our web of life and for our precious environment.

    Hey honey, what did you do with the keys to my Hummer?

    April 27, 2010 at 5:03 am | Report abuse |
  8. Robert SF

    With all due respect to Dr. Hawkin, this is pure silliness. Somebody figured, with "Avatar" fresh on our minds, that turning the scenario around on us might sell a bit more news. Logically, if an alien species has learned to harness the power of stars to open wormholes, what would they want with our planet?

    A greater danger is that they would absorb god ol' Sol, and thus kills us off in the deep freeze, but as inadvertently as we kill germs when we brush our teeth. But even that danger isn't very likely. Our sun is hardly remarkable. Why would aliens choose it and not some other star?

    April 27, 2010 at 5:08 am | Report abuse |
  9. Tj brown

    He definitely has a point. The early European explorers such as Columbus, Magellan, pizzaro, cortes,de Leon were certainLy no friends to the local population. The aliens will similarly have more advanced technology and guess what? will probably exploit us like thiese so called icons exploited the local inhabitants

    April 27, 2010 at 5:13 am | Report abuse |
  10. Steve

    Well, that's just GREAT, Hawkings!! Now, on top of watching out for ILLEGAL aliens, I have to watch the skies on the lookout for aliens coming after me through a freakin' WORMHOLE! You didn't think our lives were tough enough BEFORE you decided to lay your hypothesis on us?? JEEEZ!

    April 27, 2010 at 5:16 am | Report abuse |
  11. Matt F

    Take one look at the way we have treated any technologically inferior we have come across. Regardless of what culture or time period The strong feed on the weak. If a hugely advanced race came to this planet look into our past to see how we would be treated.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:27 am | Report abuse |
  12. Bob

    We come in Peace....TO EAT YOU!!!!

    April 27, 2010 at 5:41 am | Report abuse |
  13. SSE

    Very interesting topic here, if not a terribly original perspective. Certainly the idea that alien life could contact earth in a bid to harvest our resources has been discussed before. Perhaps a movie or two has been made of it. With all due respect to Dr. Hawking, putting his name on this opinion does not validate its potential any more than claiming that aliens must be green. It is equally likely that any aliens coming our way could be looking for us the same way our SETI system is looking for them; to make contact in order to gain a greater understanding of the universe and what exists or transpires within it. They could be reaching out to find help or cooperation. Perhaps they are refugees from galactic wars who have learned that peace is the path to success and happiness. Maybe they are Hare Krishnas. God help us if they are Republicans. Of course, once the honeymoon wears off and economics rears its ugly head, conflicts become inevitable. Can't wait.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:42 am | Report abuse |
  14. stevensw

    When we finally make Earth nearly unlivable perhaps in the not too distant future, we too may have to travel through space searching for new holdings. When your a race desperate to survive, you may not care for the well-being of the host.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:50 am | Report abuse |
  15. Jason

    Uh, whatever resources we have here I guarantee they have at plenty of places that are a lot closer to them than earth. I really, really doubt resources would be much of an issue for a space-fairing civilization anyhow.

    Hawking said this? Tsk, tsk...

    Hopefully he was just citing a rough example off the top of his head, and didn't think much about it.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:55 am | Report abuse |
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