Stephen Hawking has long had the attitude of a doomsayer, suggesting that humans will inevitably cause their own demise as a part of their nature. Of course, there is a way out: we must find another planet to live on simultaneously.
Whether we will all perish by way of natural disaster, nuclear weapons, or artificial intelligence coming to life in a Terminator-like environment where it becomes machine vs. man, Hawking believes the only way to avoid killing off the entire human race is to have us living on more than one planet at once so that if one dies out, we will still have the other.
Imagine a time where the galaxy is a lot like Star Wars, where mankind might be fighting a valiant battle on one planet, but yet remain perfectly peaceful on another – yup, that’s what it boils down to if you’re Stephen Hawking.
The strong words came right from the man’s mouth at a talk at Oxford University Union in mid-November.
"Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years," Stephen Hawking told his listeners. "By that time we should have spread out into space, and to other stars, so a disaster on Earth would not mean the end of the human race."
Although we’re nowhere near doing anything like this yet, Hawking’s words suggest the clock is ticking.
NASA and SpaceX are looking into moving on from the International Space Station and colonizing Mars at some point in the next few decades, but surely this won’t mean everyone gets a fare to the red planet. It would be limited such that one a few astronauts at a time would be sent.
Other space agencies are working on putting mankind on the Moon to settle there, a much closer and more feasible target, some say.
On the other hand, Hawking’s vision is to put mankind on other planets in faraway star systems on planets that reside in their host stars' habitable zones, something that may be completely out of our reach because of the sheer distances required to travel.
After all, when it comes to the length of a human life and the time required to travel from one star system to another, one could easy spend the rest of their days cooped up in a spacecraft and not even make it.
So, will mankind be able to survive by cohabitating other planets? That remains to be seen, but if we’re to evade self-destruction, Hawking says it’s the best way to do so effectively.