Aliens may pose risks, says Hawking

British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life.

British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking says aliens are out there, but it could be too dangerous for humans to interact with extraterrestrial life.

Stephen Hawking, shown at Cape Canaveral, Fla., in April 2007, warns it could be dangerous for humans to have contact with alien life. ((Peter Cosgrove/Associated Press))

Hawking claims in a new documentary that intelligent alien life forms almost certainly exist, but warned that communicating with them could be "too risky."

The 68-year-old scientist said a visit by extraterrestrials to Earth would be like Christopher Columbus arriving in the Americas, "which didn't turn out very well for the native Americans."

He speculates most extraterrestrial life will be similar to microbes, or small animals — but adds advanced lifeforms may be "nomads, looking to conquer and colonize."

The Discovery Channel said Sunday it will broadcast Stephen Hawking's Universe in Britain next month.