Stephen Hawking Has Bad News for Anyone Hoping to Find Aliens in the Next 20 Years

Stephen Hawking Has Bad News for Anyone Hoping to Find Aliens in the Next 20 Years
Source: AP
Source: AP

For alien hunters, patience is a virtue. According to famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, it's unlikely that scientists will discover intelligent life in the next two decades.

"The probability is low, probably," Hawking said during the announcement of the Starshot space expedition to neighboring star Alpha Centauri, Discovery News reported. 

Hawking, along with Russian venture capitalist and physicist Yuri Milner and a group of scientists, discussed how Starshot would send "a multitude of tiny, wafer-sized spaceships," traveling at 20% of the speed of light, to Alpha Centauri within 20 years. 

In the spaceships' one-hour flyby, they can take close-up photos of Alpha Centauri, probe "space dust molecules" and measure magnetic fields. However, in that same 20-year span, Hawking pointed out, locating intelligent life isn't worth getting our hopes up.

But that doesn't mean it's not out there. Hawking said that Kepler mission discoveries "suggest that there are billions of habitable planets in our galaxy alone. There are at least a hundred billion galaxies in the visible universe, so it seems likely that there are others out there."

And when we do find them? Hawking has famously alluded to a more terrifying visitation than a casual drop-in. Good thing we have at least 20 years to DIY our Faraday hats

Source: Getty Images

"Such advanced aliens would perhaps become nomads, looking to conquer and colonize whatever planets they can reach," Hawking said, according to Live Science.

At least we can take solace in knowing that the extraterrestrials will likely be nothing like Donald Trump

How much do you trust the information in this article?

Melanie Ehrenkranz

Melanie is a writer covering technology and the future. She can be reached at melanie@mic.com.

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