THE aliens are out there and Earth had better watch out, at least according to Stephen Hawking. He has suggested that extraterrestrials are almost certain to exist — but that instead of seeking them out, humanity should be doing all it that can to avoid any contact.
The suggestions come in a new documentary series in which Hawking, one of the world’s leading scientists, will set out his latest thinking on some of the universe’s greatest mysteries.
It is hardly Earth shattering is it? And Hawking is not “one of the world’s leading scientists”. He did some top-notch stuff on black holes in the ’70s and then got famous for gnomic pronouncements delivered in his trademark Speak and Spell fashion.
Alien life, he will suggest, is almost certain to exist in many other parts of the universe: not just in planets, but perhaps in the centre of stars or even floating in interplanetary space.
Stephen Hawking boldly goes… into the realms of wild speculation. Perhaps in the centre of stars. He is making it up.
Hawking’s logic on aliens is, for him, unusually simple. The universe, he points out, has 100 billion galaxies, each containing hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is unlikely to be the only planet where life has evolved.
Well bugger me sideways! That’s a new insight! That’s… I’m not even going to mention Fermi’s paradox.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like.”
/facepalm. I shall now tell you all I or indeed the esteemed Professor knows about aliens.
You got that? We know nothing. Speculating what they might be like is fun if you’re writing a Dr Who episode but beyond that…
One scene in his documentary for the Discovery Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an alien cliff-face where they are picked off by flying, yellow lizard-like predators. Another shows glowing fluorescent aquatic animals forming vast shoals in the oceans thought to underlie the thick ice coating Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.
I made my Dr Who comment too soon. By the way I got a hell of a canal network on Mars to sell…
Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to lead on to a serious point: that a few life forms could be intelligent and pose a threat. Hawking believes that contact with such a species could be devastating for humanity.
Such scenes are speculative. Be still my splitting sides! I is it me or Did Carl Sagan paddle this canoe thrity odd years back?
He suggests that aliens might simply raid Earth for its resources and then move on: “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.”
So it’s interstellar pikeys is it? I imagine they might exist in massive ships. I fear the good Prof is well and truly yanking our chain.
He 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.”
Now that is pure Sagan. Sagan just said it four decades ago and more elegantly. But, dear reader, have you seen the true irony here? Have you?
Any first contact initiated by them will likely be because they have picked-up our TV and Radio shows whether they be “I Love Lucy” or Stephen Hawking. Going on the telly to say, don’t talk to aliens is talking to the aliens.
I always thought there was an imp of the perverse about Hawking.
Anyway I gladly welcome our insectoid overlords from the planet Zog and shall cheerfully toil in their sugar caves. Or whatever. I dunno but I’d really like to meet aliens - whether they be foes or mentors or pals even Eccentrica Gallumbits. It would be cool like the Rolling Stones forming the next cabinet. God knows where it would end but it would be one hell of a ride.
In case you are terminally young the title of this piece is from here. The ’70s. Flaired trousers, the Austin Allegro and Smash. I fortunately only barely remember it.