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Stephen Hawking Says Humans Should Be 'Wary' of Answering Calls from Aliens

Sep 24, 2016 09:55 AM EDT
Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking issues warning regarding making contact with alien life.
(Photo : By NASA/Paul Alers [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

Both NASA and China are focused on finding and communicating with alien life. For renowned theoretical physicist, Stephen Hawking, making human presence known to alien life is something to be wary about.

"One day we might receive a signal from a planet like this, but we should be wary of answering back. Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus. That didn't turn out so well," explained Hawking.

For Hawking, humans should not announce to aliens that the earth is open to them -- most especially if these alien life forms have more advanced technology compared to that of the earth. All this was stated by Hawking during his half-hour program, "Stephen Hawking's Favorite Places."

It is a science-themed subscription service based on Curiosity Stream. During the program, Hawking also touched based on the said next habitable planet, Gliese 832c. The Gliese 832c is theoretically one of the closest habitable world candidates that has been discovered so far.

"It's a breathtaking sight, a super-Earth five times more massive than ours. The planet could have Earth-like temperatures with an abundant liquid water, and where there is water, there is very often life," stated Hawking.

As where Gliese 832c is concerned, Hawking adds that his latest project, the Breakthrough Listen Initiative hopes to pick up signals from the planet. The project makes use of ultra-sensitive telescopes to pick up signals from planets, which could be potential signals from alien life.

"Using the world's most sensitive radio telescopes what might we hear? Maybe an alien opera or perhaps a phone call home," said Hawking.

The Gliese 832c was first discovered in 2014 by a group of researchers at the University of New South Wales in Australia. Robert Wittenmyer, the leader of the group, had spotted tiny wobbles caused by the planet's gravity.

The wobbling was captured as data thanks to three separate instruments namely the High Accuracy Radial Velocity Planet Searcher (HARPS) spectrograph, the Carnegie Planet Finder Spectrograph on the Magellan II telescope in Chile, and the University College London Echelle Spectrograph on the Anglo-Australian Telescope in Australia.

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