News / Science & Technology

Hawking Gives Humans 1,000 Years to Escape Earth

Stephen Hawking, almost totally paralyzed since 1970 by ALS, enjoys a few moments of weightlessness during a flight aboard Zero Gravity Corp.’s modified Boeing 727. (Jim Campbell, Aero-News Network)
Stephen Hawking, almost totally paralyzed since 1970 by ALS, enjoys a few moments of weightlessness during a flight aboard Zero Gravity Corp.’s modified Boeing 727. (Jim Campbell, Aero-News Network)
VOA News
Famed astrophysicist Stephen Hawking warns that humans will need to go beyond the planet Earth if they are to survive as a species.

“We must continue to go into space for humanity,” Hawking told a gathering this week in Los Angeles, California. “We won’t survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet.”

Hawking, 71, has long been a proponent of space exploration.

Speaking at a 2008 ceremony marking the 50th anniversary of the U.S. space agency, NASA, Hawking called for a new era in human space exploration, comparable, he said, to the European voyages to the New World more than 500 years ago.

“Spreading out into space will have an even greater effect," Hawking said. "It will completely change the future of the human race and maybe determine whether we have any future at all.”

Hawking was in Los Angeles this week for an appearance at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center to see its research on slowing the progression of the disease amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, or ALS. Hawking has suffered from the incurable, neurodegenerative condition for 50 years.

Since 1970, Hawking has been almost completely paralyzed by ALS. Confined to a wheelchair, he uses an advanced computer synthesizer to speak.

The renowned scientist has pioneered efforts to unlock secrets of the cosmos, revolutionizing astrophysics and capturing the imagination of millions in the process. He is perhaps most well-known for his book, A Brief History of Time, which has sold more than 10 million copies worldwide.

Despite his disabilities, he continues to work, write and travel.  At the age of 65, he was invited aboard a special zero-gravity jet to fulfill his dream of experiencing the weightlessness of a space-faring astronaut. 

“It was amazing," Hawking said at the time. "The Zero-G part was wonderful, and the High-G part was no problem. I could have gone on and on. Space, here I come!”

Born in Oxford, England, in 1942, Hawking studied at both Oxford and Cambridge Universities. He became a math professor at Cambridge and held that post for more than 30 years.  In 2009, he left to head the Cambridge University Center for Theoretical Physics.

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Comment Sorting
by: JKF from: Ottawa, Canada
April 16, 2013 10:17 PM
SH is a great thinker, and no question, way ahead of most. We need to get ahead of the human overpopulation situation, by analyzing the feasiblity of regenerating an athmosphere on Mars. If there is water in the sub-surface polar regions of Mars, as indicated by the various projects/observations; the need to establish/modify (GM) hardy plant life, with chloropyl, to generate oxygen needs to be fully considered/tried; and by seeding the Martian polar regions, may be a good first step to test the project. Such a test, if it succeeds, may open the door to eventually colonizing the planet. It will probably take several hundred years to get the plants established and generating enough oxygen, to sustain an initial human population, given the lower light conditions and temperatures over the poles. The same methodology could be applied to other planets and moons which prove to have water. Having a second or third biosphere, I think, would be good insurance for the survival of the our and other selected earth species.

by: Chris Thomas Wakefield
April 16, 2013 3:07 AM
Re: "Hawking Gives Humans 1,000 Years to Escape Earth".
I admire Stephen Hawking and his accomplishments, but this recent comment is disappointing. Disappointing as it precludes grappling with human corporations raping the soil, the air and now SH is suggesting they move into space too.
No thought to allowing a dialogue with Earth to see what she wants is this emission from SH's mind. I guess we should expect this from a man with no operational body, I hate to say.

by: Zack from: Nairobi Kenya
April 12, 2013 12:08 PM

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