Stephen Hawking is predicting that one day we’ll discover alien life, although what’s interesting is that he feels that it may not be a carbon based life form which is what makes his statement so interesting. Hawking also went back to the Carl Sagan idea that one danger for any intelligent life form may be destroying itself with nuclear weapons, although as time goes on I wonder if the real danger is a species not developing a strategy to protect itself from a natural catastrophe be it an asteroid hit or change in climate. In the past Hawking has advocated human leaving the Earth to better guarantee survival of our species, in that respect I wish NASA would act on what he’s saying and get aggressive above going to Mars:
“On the 50th anniversary of NASA, Stephen Hawking, Newton’s heir as the Lucasian Professor of Mathematics at the University of Cambridge, answered the question, “Are we alone?” His answer was short and simple; probably not! Hawking presented three options. One, being that there is no life out there, and two – somewhat pessimistically, but subsequently, a little too realistic – being that when intelligent life gets smart enough to send signals in to space, it is also busying itself with making nuclear bombs.
Other prominent astrobiologists have warned that we humans may be blinded by our familiarity with carbon and Earth-like conditions. In other words, what we’re looking for may not even lie in our version of a “sweet spot”. After all, even here on Earth, one species “sweet spot” is another’s species worst nightmare. In any case, it is not beyond the realm of feasibility that our first encounter with extraterrestrial life will not be a solely carbon-based occasion.”