Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking has an interesting outlook on how humans will be able to survive throughout this millenium and beyond. In a speech at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles, the 71-year-old scientist said that increased space exploration is crucial for the sake of humankind’s future.
“We must continue to go into space for humanity. If you understand how the universe operates, you control it in a way,” he said. “We won’t survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet.”
It sounds kind of strange to think that in order to save humanity, we basically have to get ready to jet and find other new places to live in the solar system or galaxy. However, the likelihood of a big asteroid hitting Earth and wiping us out in the next 1,000 years is also part of his reasoning.
What’s discouraging to him is that NASA’s planetary science budget was cut by $300 million this year. However, Russia has signed a deal with the European Space Agency to take part in the ExoMars project, which will seek out life on the planet and eventually send a mission over there. There are Mars colonization projects starting to be though about as well ( see our recent post: Tesla, SpaceX Founder Elon Musk Aims For 80,000 Person Colony On Mars).
Hawking gave the speech after touring a stem cell lab at the hospital, which has focused its efforts on slowing the progression of Lou Gehrig’s disease, a brain and spinal cord disease he has suffered from for more than 50 years. Hawking has proved to be an inexplicably unique case since most patients only live about a decade after diagnosis.
Fortunately for the rest of the world, Hawking has not let this disease slow him down, and he continues to decode the universe and speak around the world about the value of science, research, and exploration. It is interesting to hear someone with such profound knowledge about the world say that we will have to consider inhabiting other planets in order to survive long term, but it’s hard to say whether the world at large will really take a claim like this seriously.
Do you think he is on to something, or do we simply need to focus more on preserving the delicate planet we have in front of us?
Image CC licensed by European Sothern Observatory (ESO)