Stephen Hawking, famous astrophysicist, and Nobel Prize nominee, just released a new video on Curiosity Stream, an online platform that hosts on-demand video. In the 25 minutes of the recording, Hawking talks about the potential of discovering new life and new life discovering us.
In Stephen Hawking’s Favorite Places, the scientist talks about all of his favorite places in the universe, and all of the planets that he believes are able to host human life as we know it. He also notes that NASA and other space explorers have discovered thousands of planets in recent years.
“Some are burning hells, gates of fire and lava, other are solid diamond made in deadly x-rays from a dying star, but some are more like home,” Hawking tells his audience.
The movie starts with Hawking inviting his viewers to climb aboard his virtual spaceship. He then starts to fly, stopping at Gliese 832c, one of the closest potentially habitable planets that scientists uncovered so far.
“It’s a breathtaking sight, a super-Earth five times more massive than ours,” Hawking explains.
While talking about the great potential that Gliese 832c shows on paper, the astrophysicist also tells his audience that researchers have no means of knowing if a planet is habitable. The giant sun around which the planet in question revolves may lock it in its gravitational grasp and keep one side always facing it, or the atmosphere could be so thick that it wouldn’t allow life to prosper on the surface.
During his short movie, the famous astrophysicist also speaks about the Breakthrough Listen Initiative, which is a project using radio telescopes in order to pick up any potential messages sent by extraterrestrial beings. It seems that Gliese 832c is in range, so if the planet is indeed populated by intelligent life, we should hear from them.
However, not all calls must be accepted. Hawking advised that we should not be overenthusiastic when we are faced with other world inhabitants because, as we have learned from Columbus and the Native Americans, not all visitors want to tour a place and then leave back to their homes.
What do you think about the possibility of being contacted by extraterrestrial beings? Should we answer?
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