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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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Propulsion and protection are key
By ajfink on 12/1/2006 4:24:17 PM , Rating: 2
The only real hurdles, barring cost constraints, is an adequate form of propulsion and protection from meteors and radiation. An electromagnetic form of radiation protection I can see becoming viable in the next few decades, as well as theoretical research into the propulsion necessary. By then, any other gaps in the technology would be well out of the way. Politics and money is what is really slowing things down.

P.S. - Would they knight Hawkings already? The man deserves it.

RE: Propulsion and protection are key
By Christopher1 on 12/2/2006 3:00:47 PM , Rating: 1
Anyone else wonder how we went to the moon with all the cosmic radiation and stuff out there? Frankly, some scientists have proven mathmatically that anyone who went into space in the vehicles that we had back then and even now, would have been DEAD long before they got to the moon, from radiation poisoning.

RE: Propulsion and protection are key
By Ard on 12/5/2006 3:39:24 PM , Rating: 2
That's because we never went. Why do you think we're "going back" in 2018? ;)

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