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Intelligent life is more likely to be like the Borg than Vulcans, according to Stephen Hawking. Hawking says humans should try to avoid contact with intelligent aliens.  (Source: National Geographic)
Don't count on friendly aliens, like ET, says Hawking; they're likely looking to conquer, colonize, and exploit

Stephen Hawking, 68, has long suffered from a motor neurone disease that has extremely limited his powers of communication and movement, but that has never stopped him from  making important contributions to scientific theory.  Hawking just finished up a three-year project, a TV series called Stephen Hawking's Universe, which will air on Sunday May 9 at 9 p.m. on the Discovery Channel.

In the show he will offer up some controversial assessments on extraterrestrial life and what it might be like.  

Hawking is a firm believer that alien life does exist.  The universe contains hundreds of billions of galaxies, each with hundreds of millions of stars, many which have been shown to have planets in orbit.  Numbers virtually guarantee that life has evolved elsewhere, Hawking believes.  He states, "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.  The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

So what might these extraterrestrial species be like?  Hawking believes that most are likely "simple" species, similar to those that have evolved on Earth; ranging from microbes to land animals.

However, Hawking believes there is likely intelligent life out there.  And he's frightened by that possibility.

The aliens in Hawking's vision would be much like the malefic beasties in the blockbuster science-fiction flick 
Independence Day.  He describes, "We only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet. I imagine they might exist in massive ships, having used up all the resources from their home planet. Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach."

He says that humans should try to avoid alien contact as we colonize space.  He states that such contact would be "a little too risky".  What would result?  He states, "If aliens ever visit us, I think the outcome would be much as when Christopher Columbus first landed in America, which didn’t turn out very well for the Native Americans."

In addition to his theories about vicious aliens, Hawking suggests that based on examples of life surviving on Earth in extreme environments, life could be found in unbelievable places, such as in the center of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.

Hawking's colleagues concur on this point.  Lord Martin Rees, a British royal astrophysicist, told his students in lecture earlier this year that humans might not be able to recognize or understand forms of life they stumble across in space.  He states, "I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive.  Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains."

How close could primitive life be?  Professor Brian Cox, University of Manchester's "rockstar physicist" suggests we look in our own solar backyard.  He says that Mars, Europa (a moon of Jupiter), and Titan (a moon of Saturn) are likely places to find it.

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RE: Disagree
By amanojaku on 4/26/2010 10:38:24 AM , Rating: 2
How about a more practical approach: would aliens give a crap about Earth? As a race:

1) We're too stupid; we have brains that we just don't use
2) We're too weak; slaves need to be hardier than our fragile bodies
3) We're too poor; Earth's natural resources are scarce

I'm with Trey Parker and Matt Stone: aliens just want to see us on TV.

RE: Disagree
By Mitch101 on 4/26/2010 11:04:20 AM , Rating: 4
As one scientist put it.

An alien race capable of traveling across the universe isn't interested in talking with us. Its the equivalent of us wanting to talk to the ants.

RE: Disagree
By freeagle on 4/26/2010 11:09:44 AM , Rating: 3
yet there are some people fascinated by ants and are studying them as part of their job... I don't think we would be as uninteresting as you think

RE: Disagree
By Motoman on 4/26/2010 11:38:16 AM , Rating: 5
...just think of the size of the magnifying glasses they must have. We can't repel magnification of that magnitude!

RE: Disagree
By MadMan007 on 4/26/2010 2:41:12 PM , Rating: 3
That's why they abduct and anally probe us. There's a lot of 'shit' to discover ;)

RE: Disagree
By MegaHustler on 4/26/2010 11:13:11 AM , Rating: 2
I think you're right. As long as we keep up those Single Female Lawyer episodes, we're probably going to be alright.

RE: Disagree
By Hieyeck on 4/26/2010 12:49:28 PM , Rating: 2
We're hardly poor in resources, but then any alien race capable of travelling across light years wouldn't need resources. They'd mine a rock closer to them and probably use nanotech to make whatever they need. All they need is matter is a star close by.

Which is what we're going to end up doing - Strip mine Mars/Venus and turn Mercury into a giant power plant to juice up nano-factories.

"I f***ing cannot play Halo 2 multiplayer. I cannot do it." -- Bungie Technical Lead Chris Butcher
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