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It's a question science fiction writers asked long before man could fly: Are we alone? And if we're not, are we in trouble?

The cosmologist Stephen Hawking is issuing a warning in a new documentary, saying that we are not alone, that there may be hostile life out there, they may be hungry, and we should be careful about going out looking for them.

NASA just announced it's going ahead with a new plan to search for extraterrestrial life. It includes sending a lander to Mercury and exploring the moons of Jupiter and Saturn.

"NASA's new mission to search for life?"  If I'm not mistaken, deluded, or on drugs, that's what I thought was one of the primary missions of NASA in the first place.  Am I missing something here?  If the deliberate act of sending highly sophisticated technology and men into space doesn't imply a search for extraterrestrial life, then I don't know what does.  And IF intelligent, technologically advanced ETs really are out there, then it's safe to assume they are well aware of of our attempts to join them out there.

Or, maybe I'm simply deluded and just got all of this wrong?