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Stephen Hawking - Image courtesy GrayWizard.net
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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RE: Cool...
By cochy on 12/1/2006 4:28:33 PM , Rating: 2
The next "major" devastating event might happen sooner than you think. The super volcano underneath Yellow Stone is past due on it's ~600,000 year cycle. An eruption of this volcano would change the face of the world and civilization, not to mention wiping out the better part of North America. Anyway in the long run, speaking in billions of years term, the Human race has more than the Sun's lifespan to worry about. Recent evidence shows that the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way and we could see a collision in 2-3 billion years or so. This would cause massive devastation on a galactic scale, as stars are displaced and planets flung off orbits. Who really knows how long the Human race can last for.


RE: Cool...
By hubajube on 12/1/2006 4:34:43 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Who really knows how long the Human race can last for.
By my estimations it will be tomorrow...or was that yesterday? I don't remember.


RE: Cool...
By retrospooty on 12/1/2006 4:37:57 PM , Rating: 2
You are correct... And you have been watching the Discovery channel too I see ;)

Yellowstone may happen, and it will devastate North America and the climate of the world for many years, many will die, but humans and our technology will live on.

Andromeda in a few billion years is something we cannot survive. This brings up another question. If we were to develop light speed and have the tech to leave our planet to go to other stars, they would presumable be the stars in the Milky way that are 4 to several hundred light years away... Milky way will be unstable when colliding with Andromeda, even the outer rim solar systems... We need to go to a whole new Galaxy. Which may be tens of thousands of light years away.


RE: Cool...
By EODetroit on 12/1/2006 5:15:33 PM , Rating: 2
Not really. Galaxies are mostly empty space. The two Galaxies will for the most part just pass through each other. Its not like a truck hitting a concrete barrier when Galaxies "collide".

It'll be quite a sight though if anyone's still around to look at the night sky as Andromeda gets close. Remember the end of the Empire Strikes Back?


RE: Cool...
By AxemanFU on 12/1/2006 6:18:00 PM , Rating: 2
It depends on where the solar system goes in that collision..besides the fact that the sun will already be substantially hotter at that point and will probably have make earth intolerable for life, and quite likely barren, a galatic collision will release massive volumes of radiation, and you may drift right into a nebula of gas or dust. Even if objects don't collide directly, their orbits will be massively distorted by each galaxie's mutual gravitational pull. The galaxies will most likely deform and then slowly merge as their super blackhole cores orbit eachother to form a super galaxy and slowly merge over trillions of years. Isn't astrophysics cool?


RE: Cool...
By johnsonx on 12/2/2006 1:02:42 PM , Rating: 1
quote:
Recent evidence shows that the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way and we could see a collision in 2-3 billion years or so


Your source for this? All evidence and discussion I've ever seen says the galaxies are ALL moving away from each other (red shift). I'd think if the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies were moving towards each other (blue shift), I'd have heard of it.


RE: Cool...
By cochy on 12/3/2006 5:04:16 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
Your source for this? All evidence and discussion I've ever seen says the galaxies are ALL moving away from each other (red shift). I'd think if the Milky Way and Andromeda galaxies were moving towards each other (blue shift), I'd have heard of it.


http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Andromeda_Galaxy#Gene...

Wikipedia is our friend :D.
Most definitely there is a blue shift.


RE: Cool...
By johnsonx on 12/4/2006 2:16:10 PM , Rating: 2
Well, I stand corrected. I'm surprised I've never heard of this, but there it is. Maybe I should renew my subscription to Science News?


RE: Cool...
By MadAd on 12/3/2006 7:35:16 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Recent evidence shows that the Andromeda galaxy is on a collision course with the Milky Way and we could see a collision in 2-3 billion years or so.


Good. That may bring other stars with habitable planets closer to us since we cannot rely on cracking the propultion problem anytime soon.


"Well, we didn't have anyone in line that got shot waiting for our system." -- Nintendo of America Vice President Perrin Kaplan

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