In the face of mounting evidence that alien life exists, Stephen Hawking has controversially advised that further investigation should not be carried out, for fear that aliens could ‘raid’ the planet.
The issue surrounding alien life was recently brought up during the Discovery Channel’s new series, which explores what aliens might be like. During the series Hawking rationalised that, whilst it is likely that aliens do exist, we should not attempt to contact them.
Hawking compared the outcome of a possible alien visit to Columbus landing in America, ‘which didn’t turn out well for the Native Americans’, he explains. His logic is based on how little we know about what aliens are like, which opens up the possibility that they could, in fact, be dangerous.
Radically, the argument was then illustrated using the human race. Hawking argued that ‘we only have to look at ourselves to see how intelligent life might develop into something we wouldn’t want to meet’.
Attempts to contact extraterrestrial life so far include sending out ‘probes’ illustrating the location of our planet into space. According to BBC News, ‘radio beams have been fired into space in the hope of reaching alien civilisations’.
Professor Brian Cox, a physicist from the University of Manchester, talked about increasing evidence that life could exist on Mars. He suggested that future technology would help us to search for extraterrestrial life in the coming decades. A somewhat worrying concern for us all if Hawking’s warning about the danger of making contact with aliens is taken into account.
The University of Southampton will be able to contrubute to the debate. The University has had a vital role in the creation of the first major radio telescope to be built in Britain for many decades. This telescope is part of the European LOFAR (Low Frequency Array) project, and will work by ‘listening’ to the Universe at FM frequencies, which will enable astronomers to discover more about how the Universe has evolved.