Once again, physicist Stephen Hawking has warned that if humans don’t become an interstellar species in the near future, we risk “being annihilated.”
“The Earth is under threat from so many areas that it is difficult for me to be positive,” the professor said in a speech in Trondheim, Norway.
This is not the first time Hawking has made a daunting prediction. Previously, he asserted that climate change, epidemics, and population growth all pose significant threats to our survival on Earth. Last November, he argued that humans must find a new planet within the next thousand years. By May, that prediction was 100 years.
“It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth,” Hawking said. “To stay, risks being annihilated.”
Hawking pushed for a global effort to “rekindle the excitement” of space travel, noting that the technology required to make this vision a reality is “almost within our grasp.”
“Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity. It may also determine whether we have any future at all,” Hawking said.
Hawking then discussed the Breakthrough Star Shot program he is working on with Yuri Milner. If it is successful, the mission could send a probe to Alpha Centauri within our lifetime.
While major engineering challenges need to be overcome, Hawking clearly remains committed to it.
“These are engineering problems, and engineers’ challenges tend, eventually, to be solved,” he said.