World renowned physicist Stephen Hawking issued a dire warning to humanity in a recent talk at Oxford University: Establish a colony on another planet within the next 1,000 years or risk extinction.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 (years) without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” he said.
Perhaps known as much for his groundbreaking work in theoretical physics as he is for his battle against amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), Hawking’s recent talk delved into wide-ranging topics, including how the universe began and why humans exist.
Speech of Gloom and Doom
His most jarring comments came when discussing humanity’s future. Hawking has said climate change, asteroid strikes, artificial intelligence, and disease all pose existential threats to the human race.
“Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next thousand or ten thousand years,” Hawking said during lecture in January. “By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race.
“However, we will not establish self-sustaining colonies in space for at least the next hundred years, so we have to be very careful in this period,” he added.
Hawking has long been an outspoken advocate of space search. The iconic scientist has been particularly vociferous about humans leaving Earth to settle the rest of the Solar System and beyond. Hawking has said these colonies would be an insurance policy against looming existential threats.
Hawking’s passion for interstellar travel was recently pointed out when he backed the Breakthrough Starshot project, a part of the $100 million Breakthrough Initiative. The project’s primary objective is to develop laser-propelled “nanoprobes” that would travel beyond the solar system and in the direction of Alpha Centauri, a nearby star.
Proxima Centauri is the sun’s closest neighbor at just 4.2 light-years away, and it was recently found to host to an Earth-sized potentially habitable planet. New space travel technologies would make future human colonies on that planet more of a realistic possibility.
Image credit: OGER ASKEW/OXFORD UNION/REX/
The post Stephen Hawking: Humans must leave Earth in 1,000 years or we all die appeared first on Redorbit.
offers Science, Space, Technology, Health news, videos, images and reference information. For the latest science news, space news, technology news, health news visit redOrbit.com frequently. Learn something new every day.”