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To date, scientists have not found clear evidence of life elsewhere in the universe, but the premise might not be that farfetched. In fact, renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has warned that if aliens find their way to Earth, it may not be the friendly close encounter we want. With "Battleship" setting sail this week, SPACE.com caught up with Seth Shostak, a senior astronomer at the non-profit Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) Institute in California, to talk about the new science fiction action film (which is based on the original Hasbro board game), whether he thinks hostile alien civilizations really exist, and what message he would send into the cosmos.
SPACE.com: You were a science consultant during the making of "Battleship," weren't you? What kinds of things did the filmmakers ask you to help them with? Seth Shostak: That's true. They flew a couple of scientists down to talk to the director, writer and producer. They had specific questions that they wanted help with, so I was one of the consultants. One specific thing that I remember is they were looking for some reasons for aliens to come to Earth. What might entice them to come here?