Stephen Hawking: Be wary of answering if space aliens come calling

Physicist Stephen Hawking said he is convinced that humans are not the only intelligent life form in the universe.

In a newly released 25-minute film from Curiosity Stream — an online video on demand site — Hawking discusses his quest to find alien life.

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In “Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places,” Hawking told USA Today that scientists have found thousands of planets outside our solar system in recent years. 

“Some are burning hells, gates of fire and lava, others are solid diamond made in deadly X-rays from a dying star, but some are more like home,” he said. 

Hawking takes viewers to Gliese 832c, which could be one of the closest habitable planets discovered so far.

He said one day we might receive a signal back from a planet like Gliese 832c.

“We should be wary of answering back,” he said.  “Meeting an advanced civilization could be like Native Americans encountering Columbus — that didn’t turn out so well.”

Hawking said the discovery of intelligent life would be the greatest scientific discovery in history.

“It would force us to change,” he said. “We would have to give up the idea that we are unique and start acting with more compassion and humility."

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