Renowned Cambridge physicist Stephen Hawking has said that future encounters with alien species are most likely to be hostile and threatening.

Hawking made the remarks in the first episode of his new, three-part television series “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking”.

On the series, which debuted on April 25th, Hawking proposed that any extraterrestrial race advanced enough to have mastered travelling through space could be expected to have depleted its home planet’s resources, which would prompt it to travel in search of more materials in other galaxies.

“Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach,” Hawking said. “If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?”

The consequence of a visit would almost certainly be annihilation of the human race, Hawking suggested, adding that our own past proves that meetings like the possible human-alien one usually end badly:  “If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans.”

According to Hawking, contemplating an alien encounter and trying to predict how it would unfold is not unreasonable. “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.”

Hawking also theorized how extraterrestrial species might be able to travel extended intergalactic distances via a wormhole, opened with solar energy. “It might be possible to collect the energy from an entire star,” he said. “To do that they could deploy millions of mirrors in space, encircling the whole sun and feeding the power to one single collection point.”

However, other specialists who have contemplated alien-human interactions are skeptical of a scenario resulting in destruction. “Anything that we have here, they could find where they live,” said Seth Shostak, Senior Astronomer at the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence.

Moreover, Shostak argued that any species with the power of spaceflight would also most likely have highly sophisticated robotic machines, which they would send to Earth rather than coming here themselves. “It's not like, the hatch will open and we'll see a strange, alien paw coming out,” he said. “It's more likely to be a robotic arm.”



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