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.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Video Scientists Say We Need Softer Robots

Today’s robots are mostly hard, rigid machines, with sharp edges and forceful movements, but researchers at Carnegie Mellon University say they should be softer and therefore safer More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
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
I COMPLETELY AGREE

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs