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Stephen Hawking: "It's time to leave Earth."

Posted on Saturday, 14 August, 2010 | Comment icon 123 comments | News tip by: thefinalfrontier

Image credit: NASA

Stephen Hawking has said that mankind must leave Earth within a century or face becoming extinct.

"Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth, are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill," he said.

"Mankind must look to colonize outer space within the next century or it will become extinct, renowned British astrophysicist Stephen Hawking warned the Big Think website yesterday."

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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #114 Posted by scowl on 17 December, 2010, 21:56
We Americans are very cynical. We move an average of every six years. We believe that moving will put our problems behind us and there's plenty of good stuff where we're going. Surely the ultimate "move" would be out of this wretched planet we've hopelessly ruined into a wonderful future in sparkling clean outer space. Here's a bit of good news that hardly anyone knows. Remember those fluorocarbons that were destroying our ozone layer? In just thirty years mankind has reduced its emissions of these into the atmosphere by 95%. To me, this is an amazing achievement ... [More]
Comment icon #115 Posted by SlimJim22 on 17 December, 2010, 23:22
I didn't realize ozone was such a double edged sword as it is. Bad ozone is created by us through air pollution such as exhaust emmissions. If we have cut out CFC's that is great but we still need many more trees than we have. Next thing would be too reduce exhaust fumes. Switching to hydrogen seems like the best alternative at present as biofules further impact the environment. Harnassing hydrogen as a fuel could be the key to space travel we need but even then I can't see us making a trip to a habitable planet in one lifetime so emphasis should be on understanding sustainable ... [More]
Comment icon #116 Posted by TheMcGuffin on 17 December, 2010, 23:23
I'm all for exploring space, but how do we ensure that we won't bring the same pattern of destructiveness with us once we finally go out there?
Comment icon #117 Posted by TheSpookyLlama on 18 December, 2010, 12:23
Good point. It's in our nature to exploit things, so when we do go onto a moon/planet, we'll do the same damn thing there as we do here.
Comment icon #118 Posted by scar7 on 18 December, 2010, 12:32
As far as leaving earth... I think we are fine. Didn't the earth recover very well from all the nuclear blasts back in the day Im pretty sure the earth can handle a lot. We all will just be returning to the stone age. No big deal I can handle that
Comment icon #119 Posted by Universal Sight on 20 December, 2010, 17:49
Your right but, will it survive an all out war with the use of alot of them at once? I believe Hawking is correct as others do. Personally, i like his views. I would have to tend to agree that we need to try to colonize or have the ability to colonize another planet (Mars?), in our solar system. Why? For the obvious reasons i guess. But, in saying this and to kind of contradict myself a bit, ive always thought that this would still be a dead end option initially. It would take some foresight to be able to ensure the survival even once the ability to travel and build structures on a plan... [More]
Comment icon #120 Posted by Mr. E. on 20 December, 2010, 18:20
Yes mankind creates pollution and waste but what about the good? Has anyone considered that if humanity was more evenly spread across the cosmos than our "carbon foot print" would be much lesser. Get off earth now! Society needs to open it's mind to new possibilities again. Were stagnating, rapidly.
Comment icon #121 Posted by Mentalcase on 20 December, 2010, 18:31
I think some should go and some should stay. Keep the population a certain number, so we can maintain the right balance on the ecosystems. Exclude most pollution sources. And make sure we actually have an environment to live in elsewhere if, anything goes wrong here. (I.E. Ice Age, Global Warming, Asteroid impact, etc. etc.) I would want to go. Only if there was a sufficient way to live happily and suport my family with all of their needs.
Comment icon #122 Posted by Universal Sight on 20 December, 2010, 19:09
The good will never come about until money is taken out of the equation to generate clean energy for the good of the planet and not the good of someones wallet. IF we spread our carbon footprint out into the cosmos..... wouldnt that actually be increasing it? Only now it would be 2 or more planets/moons rather than one? Or am i misunderstanding your statement?
Comment icon #123 Posted by scowl on 20 December, 2010, 21:25
Humans have survived several ice ages as well as the global warming that has followed them. This is not the Earth going "wrong". It's how the Earth works. We know the Earth goes through warm and cold cycles. It would take a massive asteroid and lucky impact to cause a long-term winter on Earth. Fortunately most of the planet's surface is water and that decreases the chance of an impact that will darken the skies with solid debris. It will cause complete damage in areas from massive waves but not enough to affect everyone on all continents. People are talking about "l... [More]

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