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Hawking: Humans must colonise other planets

Matter-Eater Lad

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LONDON (Reuters) - Humans must colonise planets in other solar systems travelling there using "Star Trek"-style propulsion or face extinction, renowned cosmologist Stephen Hawking said on Thursday.


Referring to complex theories and the speed of light, Hawking, the wheel-chair bound Cambridge University physicist, told BBC radio that theoretical advances could revolutionise the velocity of space travel and make such colonies possible.


"Sooner or later disasters such as an asteroid collision or a nuclear war could wipe us all out," said Professor Hawking, who was crippled by a muscle disease at the age of 21 and who speaks through a computerised voice synthesiser.


"But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe," said Hawking, who was due to receive the world's oldest award for scientific achievement, the Copley medal, from the Royal Society on Thursday.


Previous winners include Albert Einstein and Charles Darwin.


In order to survive, humanity would have to venture off to other hospitable planets orbiting another star, but conventional chemical fuel rockets that took man to the moon on the Apollo mission would take 50,000 years to travel there, he said.


Hawking, a 64-year-old father of three who rarely gives interviews and who wrote the best-selling "A Brief History of Time", suggested propulsion like that used by the fictional starship Enterprise "to boldly go where no man has gone before" could help solve the problem.


"Science fiction has developed the idea of warp drive, which takes you instantly to your destination," said.


"Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light."


However, by using "matter/antimatter annihilation", velocities just below the speed of light could be reached, making it possible to reach the next star in about six years.


"It wouldn't seem so long for those on board," he said.


The scientist revealed he also wanted to try out space travel himself, albeit by more conventional means.


"I am not afraid of death but I'm in no hurry to die. My next goal is to go into space," said Hawking.


And referring to the entrepreneur and Virgin tycoon who has set up a travel agency to take private individuals on space flights from 2008, Hawking said: "Maybe Richard Branson will help me."




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Humans must 1st make Earth stable!!


Well, maybe Hawkings is correct in the general sense, but what's the hurry? My strain of thought is that sooner than an asteroid collision, we are altering the life-support systems on our own planet in many not-so wise ways, and haven't yet fully respected each-other's rights, nor designed our civilizations to last for the long haul. Make Trade Fair is an excellent start-point, and I'm very glad for all their efforts in correcting at least some of the imbalances, and setting an example of how to achieve global equity. I'm currently busy with local politics, working to correct the political unfairness that has for too long run amok here in the US - it all starts at Square One!!

Sometimes, we get ahead of ourselves, but dreams are the stuff the future is made of!! It is heartening to hear it coming from Steven Hawkings - if he thinks it's possible, it's probably do-able in the future!


Happy Trails to You..




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I dont think it will be possible to colonize another world before we destroy ours with a nuclear war. It would be kinda cool if we were able to travel far in space and colonize it' date=' but very unlikely.[/quote']


Well as you're quite obviously from another planet, you must be quite an expert on the subject!!:rolleyes:

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stephen hawking is really really smart, and i've read nearly all of his books, and he briefly describes everything he says. this article makes complete sense, though we're too limited when it comes to science and travelling to the speed of light, i mean, our technology is too limited, so there is no way we'll be able to do that.

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