Humans Must Leave Earth to Survive, Says Hawking

We've had a pretty good run with this old planet of ours, haven't we? Sure, she's a tad crowded and a little polluted. Okay, so she might be running a little hotter than she did before too, but we're getting by. One day, however, we may have to upgrade our cosmic home -- you know, by moving to a place we can stretch out and that has a bit more room for the kids -- at least that's according to Stephen Hawking. The famed physicist warns that in order to survive much longer, we must look to space for a new home. "The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet." According to Hawking, humans are on a collision course to extinction and have been for some time now. He points to how close we came to destroying ourselves during the Cuban missile crisis, adding that humans haven't really considered longer-term survival strategies, but that it's been "a question of touch and go."

Nuclear warfare isn't the only threat that mankind faces on Earth, says Hawking. An ever-increasing population on a planet with finite resources, coupled with human's ability to induce climate changes, means the state of our occupation on this planet may be in jeopardy.

If humans want to survive much longer into the future, it might be a good time to start thinking about finding a new home, says the physicist, via UPI.

Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space.

Considering the fact that the nearest star system to Earth is 4.2 light years away, we've got some work to do if we are to heed Hawking's advice and find a new planet to settle on. And technological advancement aside, it's not entirely certain that the human race will make it -- but Hawking says he's "optimistic."

"If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space," he said.

More on Stephen Hawking
Stephen Hawking Warns That Aliens May Be Like Us
Stephen Hawking and Paul Crutzen Discuss Fate Of The World
Stephen Hawking: Space Is the Place?

Tags: Extinction | Global Warming Solutions | Preservation

Best of TreeHugger