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Stephen Hawking: Aliens may not come in peace

According to renowned British scientist Stephen Hawking, aliens could be more interested in exploiting our natural resources than sharing their technology with us.

By Clara MoskowitzSPACE.com Senior Writer / April 27, 2010

Take us to your leader! According to the British physicist Stephen Hawking, aliens, if they exist, might be more likely to conquer humanity than befriend it.

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If intelligent alien life forms do exist out in the vastness of the space, they might not be the friendly cosmic neighbors the people of Earth are looking for, famed British scientist Stephen Hawking says in a new television series chronicling his work to explore the secrets of the universe.

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An advanced spacefaring extraterrestrial civilization could end up wandering the universe in enormous spaceships on the prowl for vital materials after consuming the natural resources of their own world, Hawking explains in an episode of the show "Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking," which premiered Sunday on the Discovery Channel.

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they could reach," Hawking said. "If so, it makes sense for them to exploit each new planet for material to build more spaceships so they could move on. Who knows what the limits would be?"

IN PICTURES: Famous Aliens

In the four-part series, Hawking explores topics such as aliens, time travel, and the origin of the universe.

In one episode, he suggests an alien species could be capable of harnessing solar energy to open up a wormhole in space to travel to distant parts of the universe.

"It might be possible to collect the energy from an entire star," he says. "To do that they could deploy millions of mirrors in space, encircling the whole sun and feeding the power to one single collection point."

Hawking, one of the world's most famous scientists, is a British theoretical physicist and former professor at Cambridge University in England. He gained fame through his bestselling book, "A Brief History of Time."

Hawking is almost completely paralyzed from the neurodegenerative disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS). He communicates through an electronic voice synthesizer.

In 2007, Hawking got a taste of spaceflight during a trip aboard a modified jet that allowed him to experience the sensation of weightlessness as the aircraft flew in a series of parabolic arcs.

The next episode of the Hawking's new television series, "The Story of Everything," premieres Sunday, May 2 at 9:00 p.m. ET.

IN PICTURES: Famous Aliens