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Stephen Hawking - Image courtesy
We must leave this planet before we get hit by rocks or become part of a Ben Affleck movie

In a rare interview, Stephen Hawking said to the BBC that humans must move to another solar system in order to ensure the survival of the species. “Once we spread out into space and establish colonies, our future should be safe,” he said. Hawking made a similar suggestion back in June.


He believes that life on Earth could be wiped out by a nuclear disaster or a massive asteroid hitting the planet causing Armageddon with its Deep Impact. He said that, since we have no similar planets on our solar system, we would “have to go to another star” to find a suitable habitat.


Before humans could even dream of such a move, we would need to develop a viable means of transportation. Hawking proposed “matter/anti-matter annihilation” propulsion. He explained: “When matter and anti-matter meet up, they disappear in a burst of radiation. If this was beamed out of the back of a spaceship, it could drive it forward … It would take a lot of energy to accelerate to near the speed of light.”


Even at near-light speeds, it would take six years to reach a new star. While Hawking, 64, may not see our escape from Earth in his lifetime, he still wishes to see the planet from space.  “My next goal is to go into space; maybe Richard Branson will help me.”


Hawking was recently awarded the Royal Society’s Copley medal, their highest honor, for his work in theoretical physics and cosmology leading to classifications and further knowledge of black holes.


Lord Rees, president of the Royal Society, stated “Stephen Hawking has contributed as much as anyone since Einstein to our understanding of gravity. This medal is a fitting recognition of an astonishing research career spanning more than 40 years.”


In a statement issued by Hawking after learning of the award he said “This is a very distinguished medal, it was awarded to Darwin, Einstein and (Francis) Crick. I am honored to be in their company.”

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ArkShip Made Easy
By jgregersen on 12/1/2006 4:24:07 PM , Rating: 2
Simply hollow out a cylinder inside a reasonably sized asteroid and rotate. Drop nukes out the back until you reach an acceptable velocity. Once you reach halfway to your destination rotate rinse and repeat. When I say reasonably sized I mean around 100km long and say 30 km wide. The cylinder can be 50km by 15km and contain enough square km along the inside to easily handle a large enough population to start over somewhere else. For that matter why even go anywhere else (another solar system) when you can live inside a structure like this. With 10 km of solid rock as shielding, no tectonic activity or foul weather to deal with, it would be absolutely safer than any planetary surface. Place in orbit around the earth or moon and bingo, the species is safe.

RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By Disorganise on 12/1/2006 5:53:13 PM , Rating: 2
Sounds rather like Arthur C Clarke + Gentry Lee's 'Rendevous with Rama'

RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:11:42 PM , Rating: 2
It'd probably work, but you'd need a big old reliable reactor of some type to keep the whole thing from bleeding energy into space until everything reaches room temp in space, 0 Kelvin. Where you'd get the fuel to keep it going for long periods of time, I'm not sure.

RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By Tyler 86 on 12/10/2006 3:18:43 AM , Rating: 2
Well, with no external atmosphere, a large enough conductive surface, and improvements in nanotechnology on the way, there's solar power, just for starters.

Electrokinetics embedded in the outer wall for harnessing the gravitational pull from a satellite (think moon versus ocean tides), or from being a satellite.

Get the organics going, say sugar cane, and you have long time storage fuel source.

All that's left is nanotechnology make waste management feasable, quantum technology for communications, surface weapon platforms to act as active shielding, and some sort of scifi-ish shield to deflect micrometeorites and the like from surface structures, such as solar panels...

RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By bobsmith1492 on 12/1/2006 8:23:33 PM , Rating: 2
I fail to see how any lifeforms bigger than an ant could survive the acceleration of riding on an atomic explosion... unless your asteroid weighed a whole lot, maybe.

RE: ArkShip Made Easy
By ADDAvenger on 12/3/2006 5:54:09 PM , Rating: 2
I fail to see how any lifeforms bigger than an ant could survive the acceleration of riding on an atomic explosion... unless your asteroid weighed a whole lot, maybe.

Really really big sets of springs.

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