Alien life, he will suggest, is about assertive to abide in abounding added locations of the universe: not just in planets, but conceivably in the centre of stars or even amphibian in interplanetary space.
Hawking’s argumentation on aliens is, for him, almighty simple. The universe, he credibility out, has 100 billion galaxies, anniversary absolute hundreds of millions of stars. In such a big place, Earth is absurd to be the alone planet area activity has evolved.
“To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational,” he said. “The absolute claiming is to plan out what aliens ability in fact be like.”
The answer, he suggests, is that a lot of of it will be the agnate of bacilli or simple animals — the array of activity that has bedeviled Earth for a lot of of its history.
One arena in his documentary for the Analysis Channel shows herds of two-legged herbivores browsing on an conflicting cliff-face area they are best off by flying, chicken lizard-like predators. Another shows aglow beaming amphibian animals basic all-inclusive shoals in the oceans anticipation to underlie the blubbery ice blanket Europa, one of the moons of Jupiter.
Such scenes are speculative, but Hawking uses them to advance on to a austere point: that a few activity forms could be able and affectation a threat. Hawking believes that acquaintance with such a breed could be adverse for humanity.
He suggests that aliens ability artlessly arrest Earth for its assets and again move on: “We alone accept to attending at ourselves to see how able activity ability advance into something we wouldn’t wish to meet. I brainstorm they ability abide in massive ships, accepting acclimated up all the assets from their home planet. Such avant-garde aliens would conceivably become nomads, searching to beat and colonise whatever planets they can reach.”
He concludes that aggravating to accomplish acquaintance with conflicting contest is “a little too risky”. He said: “If aliens anytime appointment us, I anticipate the aftereffect would be abundant as if Christopher Columbus aboriginal landed in America, which didn’t about-face out actual able-bodied for the Native Americans.”
The achievement of the documentary marks a celebration for Hawking, now 68, who is paralysed by motor neurone ache and has actual bound admiral of communication. The activity took him and his producers three years, during which he insisted on afterlight ample chunks of the Software and blockage the filming.
John Smithson, controlling ambassador for Discovery, said: “He capital to accomplish a programme that was absorbing for a accepted admirers as able-bodied as accurate and that’s a boxy job, accustomed the complication of the account involved.”
Hawking has appropriate the achievability of conflicting activity afore but his angle accept been antiseptic by a alternation of accurate breakthroughs, such as the discovery, back 1995, of added than 450 planets orbiting abroad stars, assuming that planets are a accepted phenomenon.
So far, all the new planets begin accept been far above than Earth, but alone because the telescopes acclimated to ascertain them are not acute abundant to ascertain Earth-sized bodies at such distances. Another advance is the analysis that activity on Earth has accurate able to colonise its a lot of acute environments. If activity can survive and advance there, scientists reason, again conceivably boilerplate is out of bounds.
Hawking’s acceptance in aliens places him in acceptable accurate company. In his contempo Wonders of the Solar System BBC series, Professor Brian Cox backed the idea, too, suggesting Mars, Europa and Titan, a moon of Saturn, as acceptable places to look. Similarly, Lord Rees, the astronomer royal, warned in a address beforehand this year that aliens ability prove to be above animal understanding.
“I suspect there could be life and intelligence out there in forms we can’t conceive,” he said. “Just as a chimpanzee can’t understand quantum theory, it could be there are aspects of reality that are beyond the capacity of our brains.”
Stephen Hawking's Universe begins on the Discovery Channel on Sunday May 9 at 9pm