Stephen Hawking: Forget Mars – humans can conquer MILKY WAY by 2200 | Science | News

In his final book Prof Hawking left behind a series of forecasts and warnings which could effect the human race.

One such problem is that Earth is becoming overpopulated and runaway climate change will destroy our planet.

For this reason, many experts such as Elon Musk and NASA have set their sights on colonising nearby celestial bodies such as Mars and the moon in order to ensure humanity’s future.

Prof Hawking, however, left behind much more ambitious missions, and believes in as little as 200 years, humans will have conquered interstellar travel and can begin colonising the Milky Way.

In his final book, Brief Answers to the Big Questions, Prof Hawking says humanity’s first stop outside of the solar system could be Proxima b – some 25 TRILLION miles away.

With todays technology, it could take up to three million years to reach the planet orbiting Proxima Centauri, but in 200 years it could take as little as a decade, says the former theoretical physicist.

Prof Hawking wrote: “Proxima b, for example, … is the closest exoplanet to Earth but still four and a half light years away, and recent research indicates that it has some similarities to Earth.

“Travelling to these candidate worlds isn’t possible perhaps with today’s technology, but by using our imagination, we can make interstellar travel a long-term aim – in the next 200 to 500 years.”

The former Cambridge professor also claimed in his book that God does not exist.

He described his claim there is no afterlife or higher power as a “profound realisation”.

Professor Hawking wrote in the newly-published book: “We are free to believe what we want, and it’s my view that the simplest explanation is that there is no God.

“No one created the universe and no one directs our fate.

“This leads me to a profound realisation: there is probably no heaven and afterlife either.

“I think belief in the afterlife is just wishful thinking.”

Professor Hawking died at the age of 76 in the early hours of March 14 following a long battle with motor neurone disease.

He suffered from a rare early-onset slow-progressing form of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), also known as motor neurone disease or Lou Gehrig’s disease.

He was diagnosed with MND in 1963 at the age of 21.

Doctors expected him to live for only two more years, but he had a form of the disease which progressed more slowly than usual.

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