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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: No Offense
By JediJeb on 4/26/2010 4:45:24 PM , Rating: 2
Baring the OBVIOUS ripoff of Hollywood this opinion is, it also is a contradiction. You can't have a super advanced space race, capable of massive Star Wars ship technology, who ALSO can't develop renewable resources. Think about it idiot! If you can travel across galaxies, aren't you past the point of needing ANYTHING on your planet that you can't replace, substitute, or engineer? Also, wouldn't you be capable of fixing any problem to the planets environment that you supposedly caused to get to your advanced state in the first place ? The answer to these questions is YES.

Ok I can think of one counter to this. Suppose the aliens have limited time to leave a dying solar system and the engineering they come up with to make it possible involves the cannibalizing of their entire planet, and to continue their travels this technology would require them to continue to cannibalize entire planets to maintain their existence. This would make the answers to those questions NO simply out of necessity.

It has happened here before, that for one civilization to survive it must decimate another. Faced with following a path of utter compassion for others leading to your certain annihilation or a path of destruction of others leading to your survival, most choose the latter out of desperation. Therefore I believe the Mr. Hawking's assumptions are somewhat grounded in logical estimations. How many times do people do the right thing for purely altruistic reasons?

RE: No Offense
By bh192012 on 4/26/2010 8:03:45 PM , Rating: 1
Why would they fly 4,000 light years, passing up countless other systems with more resources to head to the one that would actually resist? Try to understand the size of the universe first, and the amount of energy it would take just to get here.

It's like trying to make the argument that if you get stranded on a deserted island, you shouldn't try to communicate to the outside world, because they may come kill you and take your 1 palm tree. Aliens do not want our resources period. I could at least accept an argument that they hate other creatures (religiously?) not from their planet as being possible.

RE: No Offense
By AssBall on 4/27/2010 5:24:12 AM , Rating: 2
Aliens do not want our resources period.

What? I sure want THEIR resources. But it's nice to have an expert here. Now please take the anal probe out of your ass.

RE: No Offense
By JediJeb on 4/28/2010 4:05:27 PM , Rating: 2
Why would they fly 4,000 light years, passing up countless other systems with more resources to head to the one that would actually resist? Try to understand the size of the universe first, and the amount of energy it would take just to get here.

Well my point wasn't that they were passing up other systems just to get to ours, it was that maybe they were using up each system to get to the next. It was postulated as only one of millions of possible ways to move your race through the universe, to show that there may be one possible reason why they would be dangerous when everyone else was trying to say there would only be peaceful reasons for alien races to travel through our own system.

I also have a good understanding of the size of the universe, I have studied astronomy as an amateur for many years.

Energy requirements are very high, why else would you need to use up all the available resources in an entire solar system to move on to the next. If you read my original post it plainly stated that the alien race found one way to escape their own solar system that required the use of all resources in that solar system to move to the next, thus requiring the use of that next system to move to another and so on and so forth. Of course with our limited understanding now we do not know how much energy it takes to actually move from one solar system to another. It may require more energy than exist in a single solar system or it may require only a 9v battery, nobody knows what the future of technology holds. Before the invention of the wheel it took a large group of people to move a one ton object. Now with wheels I can push my vehicle which weight over a ton by myself( given it is on flat ground).

"I'm an Internet expert too. It's all right to wire the industrial zone only, but there are many problems if other regions of the North are wired." -- North Korean Supreme Commander Kim Jong-il
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