Stephen Hawking is fed up. He thinks the world is doomed and that we should start preparing our exit strategy now. Easier said than done. Hawking recently spoke out at the Starmus Festival of arts and sciences in Norway. In his speech, the world famous physicist slammed President Donald Trump for taking “the most serious, and wrong, decision on climate change this world has seen.” When asked to comment further the famous cosmologist groaned: “The Earth is under threat from so many areas that it is difficult for me to be positive.”
In two previous statements, Hawking has warned that we’d better formulate a workable plan B in order to punch out in the next century or so, as Earth is caught in a downward spiral he believes we can’t escape. As a result, the professor suggests we find a new home planet in the next two to five centuries. The only way we can do that is to start exploring space for a suitable planet sufficient to sustain life, or even perhaps more than one. Using advanced scientific instruments, we’ve been able to peer into the universe like never before, Hawking said.
“When we have reached similar crises in our history, there has usually been somewhere else to colonize,” he said. “Columbus did it in 1492 when he discovered the New World. But now there is no new world. No Utopia around the corner.” The first logical places to start are the moon and Mars. According to the BBC, Hawking called on nations to colonize the moon by 2020 and Mars by 2025.
Hawking believes one of our first moves is colonizing Mars. Getty Images.
But each is subject to cosmic radiation, long-term exposure of which could cause cancer and Alzheimer’s. We’ll need to invent proper shielding. What’s more, no one knows how a child being born in such circumstances might fare. The gravity for instance, is way different in both places than on Earth. How would this affect skeletal development? Growing up on Mars might mean never being able to set foot on the Earth, as one’s skeletal system wouldn’t be able to withstand the gravity.
Planet Proxima b in the Proxima Centauri system, approximately 4.5 light-years from Earth, was one such candidate Hawking mentioned. Note that one light-year is around six trillion…
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