Earlier this month, Stephen Hawking warned that we may only have 100 years to leave Earth. This was an even more grim prediction than the one he made in 2016, when he said that the extinction of mankind may take place in about a thousand years from now. In a press conference earlier this week, the esteemed physicist reiterated his “100 years” prediction, addressing his previous comments and underscoring the need to find new planets to colonize before it’s too late.
Following his remarks earlier in May that humanity may only have about a century or so before it faces extinction, Hawking sought to address the proverbial elephant in the room, as he appeared in London on Friday for a press conference hyping up next month’s Starmus Festival science and arts expo in Norway.
Indeed, Stephen Hawking’s “100 years” prediction raised a lot of eyebrows when he made it, and, as Newsweek recounted, he stood his ground when he stressed the need to find a new Earth-equivalent in the near future — other planets that may be able to support life.
“I strongly believe we should start seeking alternative planets for possible habitation. We are running out of space on Earth and we need to break through the technological limitations preventing us from living elsewhere in the universe.”
— The Independent (@Independent) May 20, 2017
Hawking is scheduled to be the keynote speaker at this year’s edition of the Starmus Festival, and Newsweek wrote that he will likely be sharing a similar message — with the extinction of mankind likely to happen in about a century from now, humans must leave Earth and find a new home. The 75-year-old physicist added that he’s not the only one in his field who has such a dire forecast for humanity going forward.
“I am not alone in this view. And many of my colleagues will make further comments on this at Starmus next month.”
One of those colleagues who may share a similar point of view is neuroscientist Edvard Moser, according to a report from Wired UK. Moser is also scheduled to appear at the Starmus Festival, and while he didn’t expressly agree with Stephen Hawking’s “100 years left” prediction, he did say that people, especially the movers and shakers of the world, should listen to the science community when it comes to matters such as climate change and its effect on our planet.
Interestingly, Moser also took time to call out world leaders, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who has been perceived by many to be a leading climate change doubter, having removed several climate change policies and related articles from the White House’s official website. This phenomenon has previously been cited by Hawking as one of the reasons Earth may have so little time remaining before what he feels would be the extinction of mankind.
“There are many people who don’t take advice from science for granted anymore, however I want to say this is not just an issue about the current president of the United States it’s actually a concern in all countries”
Hawking’s predictions will also be showcased in the upcoming BBC documentary Expedition New Earth. With the likes of U.S. space agency NASA and Tesla and SpaceX head honcho Elon Musk both working on plans to colonize Mars, Hawking will look at the “scientific requirements” for colonizing the Red Planet, with engineering professor Danielle George and former Hawking student Christophe Galfard joining him in the discussion.
Mars, however, may not be the only option, as CNET wrote. While plans to further study the much talked-about Trappist-1 star system are still unclear at this point, the publication pointed out that scientists believe three of the seven Earth-sized planets circling Trappist-1 “could potentially support life.” Proxima b has been cited as another option where the key ingredients of life may be present, as Stephen Hawking and Facebook head Mark Zuckerberg’s Breakthrough Starshot project has it as a possible target.
What are your thoughts on Stephen Hawking’s “100 years before extinction of mankind” prediction? Do you believe humanity has so little time left, given the threat of climate change and other industrial era-related issues, or is his forecast too pessimistic?
[Featured Image by Dan Kitwood/Getty Images]