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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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By unomee on 12/17/2006 6:02:09 PM , Rating: 2
This makes a better theory than plan, Mr. Hawking. I'm not commenting on propulsion theory here. Rather, I'm questioning the belief that this Earth is so irrepairable that we must colonize another world for our survival. Before such talk of colonizing another world should be seriously considered, the societal and environmental issues of this planet Earth must be dealt with FIRST.

If humans can't fix the problems they've created while living on a paradise planet (i.e.: Earth), how can they be expected to deal with the unknowns of a less hospitable alien world? Surely, the enormous efforts are required to colonize another planet. Would not much less effort be required to solve the problems we live with here Earth? (Or do we considered it prudent to buy that new summer cottage before the crumbling foundation of the winter home is repaired first?)

Ironically, Earth colonists on a new planet who manage to survive and/or thrive would likely do so by following the frugality that those on Earth refused to do. Perhaps these New Humans would some day teach their children to dispise the practices of the Earth Humans.

Do we maintain a legacy of "burn, then move on"? Or perhaps we first learn to survive with less, first?




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