Don’t visit Earth, Hawking tells aliens

26 Apr 2010

One of the world’s leading scientists, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, says if aliens visit Earth it would be the death of either them or us.

In a new series for the Discovery Channel, Hawking’s Universe, he says the likelihood of other life forms in the universe is likely if you consider the universe has 100bn galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. So it is likely we’re not alone.

“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said in an article in the Sunday Times. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”

Many of these life forms may be microbes or simple animals, but others he suggests could be intelligent beings whose arrival on Earth would signal the end of the human race.

“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 colonise whatever planets they can reach.”

Hawking concludes that trying to make contact with alien races is “a little too risky”. He said: “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.”

By John Kennedy

Photo: Intelligent aliens would perhaps look to conquer and colonise whatever planets they can reach, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has said

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years