If Aliens Exist,They May Come to Get Us, Stephen Hawking Says

If Aliens Exist,They May Come to Get Us, Stephen Hawking Says
An artist's illustration of a potential alien attack as depicted in the science television series "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking." (Image credit: Discovery Channel/Darlow Smithson Productions Ltd.)

If intelligent alien life forms do exist out in the vastnessof the space, they might not be the friendly cosmic neighbors the people ofEarth are looking for, famed British scientist Stephen Hawking says in a newtelevision series chronicling his work to explore the secrets of the universe.

An advanced spacefaring extraterrestrialcivilization could end up wandering the universe in enormous spaceships onthe prowl for vital materials after consuming the natural resources of theirown world, Hawking explains in an episode of the show "Into the Universewith Stephen Hawking," which premiered Sunday onthe Discovery Channel.

"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 planetfor material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what thelimits would be?"

In the four-part series, Hawking explores topics such asaliens, time travel, and the origin of the universe.

In one episode, he suggests an alien species could becapable of harnessing solarenergy to open up a wormhole in space to travel to distant parts of theuniverse.

"It might be possible to collect the energy from anentire star," he says. "To do that they could deploy millions ofmirrors in space, encircling the whole sun and feeding the power to one singlecollection point."

Hawking, one of the world's most famous scientists, is aBritish theoretical physicist and former professor at Cambridge University inEngland. He gained fame through his bestselling book, "A Brief History ofTime."

Hawking is almost completely paralyzed from theneurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He communicatesthrough an electronic voice synthesizer.

In 2007, Hawking got a taste of spaceflight during a trip aboarda modified jet that allowed him to experience the sensation of weightlessnessas the aircraft flew in a series of parabolic arcs.

The next episode of the Hawking's new television series,"The Story of Everything," premieres Sunday, May 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

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Clara Moskowitz
Assistant Managing Editor

Clara Moskowitz is a science and space writer who joined the Space.com team in 2008 and served as Assistant Managing Editor from 2011 to 2013. Clara has a bachelor's degree in astronomy and physics from Wesleyan University, and a graduate certificate in science writing from the University of California, Santa Cruz. She covers everything from astronomy to human spaceflight and once aced a NASTAR suborbital spaceflight training program for space missions. Clara is currently Associate Editor of Scientific American. To see her latest project is, follow Clara on Twitter.