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When Stephen Hawking, one of the world’s leading astrophysicists, worries that alien “nomads” could potentially arrive at Earth “looking to conquer and colonize,” should humanity worry?

Well, at this point, says Fabio Favata of the European Space Agency, such musings are probably premature. There's no data either way.

“Many, many scientists are of the opinion that life is very likely to be common, but, quite frankly, until you discover it, it’s as much a philosophical statement as anything else. As a scientist you base your views on actual measurements,” says Mr. Favata, head of the ESA’s science planning and community coordination office. “Whether there are other life forms or not, I would say, is one of the oldest questions that mankind has asked itself.”

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Category: Science