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. Ken Schwarz

    I'll take comfort in the thought that aliens with these kinds of needs and capabilities will have self-destructed long before they come our way and bother us.

    April 27, 2010 at 5:59 am | Report abuse |
  2. WFS

    I agree with Hawking. We should not be sending all kinds of radio messages into the darkness. It is like the little bird singing in the bushes. Only alerts the predators to his existence. Any civilization capable of reaching us across light years will view us the way that our ancestors saw the American Indians – as inconveniences – to be exterminated. We will be a curiosity and hunted, captured for alien zoos, or exterminated as our planet is exploited. Our only hope will be that they will be wiped out by diseases they have no immunity for.

    I suppose there is some hope that we get the Christianized aliens. But wait, it was the Christian imperialists who really perfected the slave trade – and endorsed the institution Biblically. Nevermind. No hope there.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:01 am | Report abuse |
  3. b747boy

    Geez, what resources would they be coming to take from Earth? Could it be our oily oceans, or our exhausted atmosphere? If they just sit tight a little longer, they can have it all, and won't even have to lift a ray gun to eliminate the inhabitants.
    More than likely, they're taking a quick look and are pressing onward in hope of better prospects.....

    April 27, 2010 at 6:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. Anil


    It is really scary to think that they might enslave us . we have also behaved in the same way with other humans , animals etc. Mr Hawkings predications make us shudder in fright . Hope we humans will be spared from this or we might have to be prepared.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:03 am | Report abuse |
  5. NC

    You never get the full story when Hawkings says anything. It's always superficial hints about whatever it is he's talking about. I find him an absolute bore.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:04 am | Report abuse |
  6. DougB

    I would have to agree, it would be similar to what we have already faced here on earth when an advanced society traveled to a less advanced area of the planet. We experienced this with the Romans expanding their empire, Egyptian Pharaohs making a name for themselves, Americans expanding into the interior of North America, and so on. Nearly every time the advanced group met with a less advanced group they sought to change the less advanced group, and if any resistance was felt that change was forced upon the less advanced.

    Any culture that makes the effort to travel all this way will do so to seek resources. At first they may collect them from our outlying planets, but eventually we will clash.

    While it is possible that they may be making the trip just to meet another society that novelty will wear off quickly. And if they can make the trip in a single generation they will be vastly more advanced than us, and likely this will not be their first trip into deep space.

    The only way there would not be a clash would be if the need, and the greed, for gain has been eliminated from the motivating factors of both sides. This only occurs on tv though, so its pretty unlikely.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:08 am | Report abuse |
  7. hueygunner

    Too late. Humans have been broadcasting into space since the light bulb was invented. Radio tubes were developed from the incandescent bulb which was popularized in the 19th century. Humans have been broadcasting signals into outer space for a very long time.

    Maybe extraterrestrials will bypass the Earth because they consider it a source of infection or danger rather than a destination. Sort of like tourists avoiding Mexico because of the rampant violence going on in that country right now.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:09 am | Report abuse |
  8. Ryn

    What a joke. Why anyone would trust the opinion of a man who can't even admit when he is wrong is beyond me. Thank goodness he was listed somewhere around number 70-80 on a list of "worlds most influential physicists". I do believe he has done more to damage the study of Quantum Dynamics than he could ever do to help it. I do admit a few of his theories are interesting, however they all fall short of "ground breaking". To be honest the only real reason he is given so much attention by the media is due to the "human interest connection" (read his condition and illness), and is even given special treatment at lectures and symposiums simply out of fear of being seen as "attacking" a invalid. Furthermore, where are his credentials indicating any kind of expertise or knowledge of any kind pertaining to societies and cultural intricacies (anthropology degrees and extensive field work etc etc etc)?

    In short, what in the name of Issac Newton is this man doing commenting on what Alien societies, cultures, and visitors might or might not be like? If you think what Hawking says is interesting then maybe you should go ask your mechanic to perform that face lift you always wanted, after all those two have more in common than Hawking has with Alien societies.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:11 am | Report abuse |
  9. independenceday

    OMG, Stephen Hawking has turned into Stephen King! What is this Independence Day speculation? Though the idea may be plausible, how about the "Mission to Mars" idea? Mr. Hawking, stick to physics instead of alien motivation and psychology.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:14 am | Report abuse |
  10. David

    Well I can not share Hawking concerns..

    First of all, after long studies I have made, Im absolutely sure, extraterrestrial intelligences are allready on earth covering themselves and watching us.. For them we must be like "apes going space"..We would do the same on other planets if we have had some millions or billions years more evolution, like other civilisations surely are in front..

    Second, if life forms are smart enough to find and reach us and the earth is really miles of anywhere in the universe, they are inevitably peacefull, because high intelligences will see no sense in killing and murdering..one detail why humanity doesnt belong to those high class intelligent species btw..

    And Im pretty sure high intelligent life forms wont be depend on planet resources anymore and if yes, there might be hundret alternative places and planets in earth..

    April 27, 2010 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  11. kirby

    So they've learned how to harness energy from a star, but need to steal resources from other planets?

    April 27, 2010 at 6:17 am | Report abuse |
  12. Dude

    Imagine the waste of valuable resources investigating such a silly notion......

    April 27, 2010 at 6:21 am | Report abuse |
  13. kurt

    At the rate we're using up our resources, there won't be much left here when Hawking's aliens arrive. I think we'll be safe.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:25 am | Report abuse |
  14. Frankie Boy

    Don't worry. We will have blown each other up before they arrive!

    April 27, 2010 at 6:30 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joel Godin

    Simple: they would treat us the way Europeans treated the original Americans upon discovering America.

    April 27, 2010 at 6:31 am | Report abuse |
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