"I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone.”
Humans have spent centuries trying to answer the burning question of whether we’re alone in the universe or not, but world renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking warns that trying to contact alien civilizations might not be the best game plan after all.
In a new 25-minute film, called Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, Hawking pilots a computer-generated spacecraft called the SS Hawking, traveling through his favorite spots in the Universe.
As he virtually explores Gliese 832c, a planet with the potential to foster alien life, located 16 light-years away, Hawking says, "As I grow older, I am more convinced than ever that we are not alone. After a lifetime of wondering, I am helping to lead a new global effort to find out.”
Indeed, Hawking is at the forefront of important alien-life-hunting operations, including the Breakthrough Listen project, but he stresses that searching for alien life and actually communicating with aliens are two very different initiatives.
Back in April, Hawking announced the Breakthrough project — an ambitious attempt to hunt for alien life by scanning nearby stars for radio signals — funded by Russian billionaire Yuri Milner, who pledged $100 million towards the project.
With the help of the Breakthrough project, we may one day “receive a signal from a planet like Gliese 832c, but we should be wary of answering back,” Hawking warns in the film.
Communicating with aliens could put humanity at risk, as a highly advanced alien civilization might see us as weak and easy to conquer.
"If so, they will be vastly more powerful and may not see us as any more valuable than we see bacteria," says Hawking.
The new online film isn’t entirely full of ominous warnings about humanity’s impending doom, however. Hawking also explains his theory on matter while taking viewers into a supermassive black hole, Sagittarius A*, and visits Saturn, which he calls “the most spectacular destination in the Solar System.”
Plus, Hawking doesn’t believe that an alien destruction is at the top of humanity’s worries.
In an interview back in June, he said he believes pollution and “stupidity” are the biggest threats to mankind.