Physicist Stephen Hawking feared that a meeting between both civilizations would have a catastrophic effect on human kind
Are we alone in the universe? Many scientists think that with the large number of stars, systems and galaxies that exist, it is very likely that there are intelligent alien species in other parts of the cosmos.
For the famous physicist Stephen Hawking, it was logical to believe that there are extraterrestrial civilizations in other worlds. However, he felt that this could be bad news for humans and the Earth if they ever managed to locate us.
A dreadful encounter
Stephen Hawking was concerned that an encounter with aliens could end badly for humans. The physicist imagined these alien species travelling the universe and searching for planets to colonize and which resources they could exploit.
Hawking based such negative idea on human experience itself. He believed that something similar to what happened when the Europeans arrived in America in the 15th century could happen: when indigenous populations were destroyed and massacred.
If these civilizations are able to receive our signal and travel to Earth, this means that they are more advanced than humans and have developed technologies unknown to us.
In this galaxy-in-galaxy journey looking for new worlds to exploit, the annihilation of life on Earth could be a mere side effect. According to Hawking, us humans would be seen as mere bacteria by Aliens.
To observe, but not be caught
Despite Hawking’s concern about this possible meeting between civilizations, Hawking was also determined to find evidence of the existence of other alien species and supported projects with this objective.
Hawking was not in favor of sending signals or messages out to the cosmos: but thought it was better to observe without being seen, for us to find them and not the other way around.
One of the most outstanding programs in which he took part is Breakthrough Listen, devoted to analyzing over one million stars in search of radio or laser signals for 10 years.
The objective is to study a large area of the universe, with an area ten times larger than what has been studied so far. During the first two years there have been no remarkable results, but there are still eight years of research ahead.
If Breakthrough Listen were to be successful, one question would arise: what to do should we receive a signal from an alien civilization? Stephen’s answer to this is quite simple: say nothing.