Stephen Hawking: Humans need to leave Earth
For years, Hawking has warned that humankind faces extinction from a slew of threats ranging from climate change to destruction from nuclear war and genetically engineered viruses. Hawking recently estimated that humans have 100 years left on Earth — if we’re lucky.
During a speech at Starmus, an arts and science festival in Norway, Hawking reiterated that humanity’s future is not on the planet it has treated so poorly, BBC reported.
“If humanity is to continue another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before,” Hawking said, BBC reported.
Hawking noted that leaving Earth can not be the mission of one country, but a collective effort.
"To leave Earth demands a concerted global approach, everyone should join in,” he said. “We need to rekindle the excitement of the early days of space travel in the sixties."
He suggested the world’s nations should work together to send astronauts to the Moon by 2020 and Mars by 2025. Furthermore, there should be plans in place to build a lunar base within 30 years.
"Whenever we make a great new leap, such as the Moon landings, we bring people and nations together, usher in new discoveries, and new technologies," he said.
And space exploration can’t stop with Mars and the Moon. Hawking noted that climate change and dwindling natural resources, make it clear a long-term colonization plan is needed.
Hawking said when humans have faced “similar crises” or lack or resources, they’ve set out to discover and colonize new parts of the world, Newsweek reported.
“Columbus did it in 1492 when he discovered the New World,” Hawking said. “But now there is no new world. No Utopia around the corner.”
Hawking noted that the path forward is clear: It’s time to get out of Dodge.
“We are running out of space, and the only places to go to are other worlds,” he said. “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.”