Renowned theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking is what some may refer to as “a Debbie Downer” a lot of the time, not that I blame him. His predictions for the future of humanity are usually pretty worrying, although there’s always a sliver of hope attached to them as well. The good professor was never one to shy away from telling us that if we don’t change our ways soon things are going to get very ugly, very fast. To be fair, many of us are already aware of this, just as we are aware of his stance against advanced artificial intelligence and meeting alien civilizations. Additionally, this past weekend Stephen Hawking also stated that we would be wise to continue to invest in space exploration and expand beyond Earth, else we might find ourselves extinct in the future.
Although there’s no need to panic just yet, I think we would do well to listen to what Stephen Hawking has to say given that he’s widely recognized as being one of the smartest people on Earth and all. However, the aforementioned sliver of hope was definitely present this past weekend as the physicist still seems to believe somewhat in our chances at survival. On Saturday and Sunday the professor made some very interesting statements at the Sydney Opera House where the appeared as a 3D hologram. Stephen Hawking was actually at the University of Cambridge at the time and had the following to say in regards to our future:
“We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity. I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet.” On a more positive note, Stephen Hawking also added:
“I want to share my excitement and enthusiasm about this quest, so remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. And however difficult life may seem, there is always something you can do, and succeed at.”
Basically, there’s good news and there’s bad news. The good news is that expanding to another planet would indeed ensure the survival of our species should a catastrophe (man-made or otherwise) leave Earth very unpleasant for people to live on. The bad news is that such a catastrophe seems all but inevitable and may very well occur sooner rather than later if we continue down this path of destruction and complete disregard for our own future. Personally, I think Stephen Hawking was actually pretty optimistic when talking about 1,000 years. Or perhaps he just didn’t want to scare people too much. To lighten the mood a bit, Stephen Hawking also made some funny comments about former One Direction member Zayn Malik.
As for space exploration, our technology still doesn’t allow us to go very far, so at the moment it looks like Mars remains our best shot. NASA, SpaceX and others already have plans to travel to the red planet in the next decade or two, but we’re likely several decades away from actually being able to establish a successful colony on Mars.