Saturday, May 1, 2010

Aliens

Stephen Hawking believes that, based on the sheer number of planets that scientists know must exist, we are not the only life-form in the universe. Most of us may not realize it but there are billions and billions of stars in our galaxy alone, with, it is feasible to expect, an even greater number of planets orbiting them. And it is not that far-fetched to expect some of the alien lifeforms to be intelligent, and capable of interstellar communication. So, when someone with Hawking's knowledge of the universe advises against contact, it's worth listening, isn't it?

In fact, just the other day, he was speaking about alien lifeforms. Hawking was advising that mankind should avoid contact with aliens because the consequences would be both devastating and ruinous. "If aliens visit us, the outcome would be much as when Columbus landed in America, which didn't turn out well for the Native Americans," warned the astrophysicist. Viewers of his Discovery Channel program, “Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking” were told “Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach".

On the probability of alien life existing, he says: "To my mathematical brain, the numbers alone make thinking about aliens perfectly rational.

The real challenge is to work out what aliens might actually be like."

Maybe so, Hawking – but to me, it is more interesting to imagine what aliens might really look like! Hollywood itself has come up with so many ideas of what aliens might look like – and some of my favorite ones are shown below:



Did you know that in February 2008, NASA beamed the Beatles song, Across the Universe, across the universe? Pointing the telescopes in its Deep Space Network towards the north star, Polaris, astronomers played out their short cosmic DJ set, hoping that it might be heard by intelligent aliens during its 430-year journey to the star. Personally, I would prefer the Chris de Burgh song, A Spacemen Came Travelling:

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