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Abandon Earth Or Die, Warns Hawking

CmdrTaco posted more than 4 years ago | from the i'm-going-home dept.

Earth 973

siliconbits writes "According to famed theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, it's time to free ourselves from Mother Earth. 'I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,' Hawking tells Big Think. 'It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.'"

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lol (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33187942)

lol good luck with that

Yeah, but where does this get ME? (3, Insightful)

TrisexualPuppy (976893) | more than 4 years ago | (#33187954)

ME. Right now. Why would I want to have my tax dollars on this. I have to pay the mortgage. I have to pay the $320 Comcast bill. Going to Mars isn't going to get me anywhere.

Human mentality...

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (4, Funny)

J-1000 (869558) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188020)

You have a $320 Comcast bill!? How is that even possible?

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (5, Funny)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188104)

You're asking a user named "TrisexualPuppy"

One word - Spanktervision

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (1)

ArcherB (796902) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188106)

You have a $320 Comcast bill!? How is that even possible?

Lots of Pay-per-view.

I have to agree with the GP here. Well, unless I'm one of the ones who gets to leave in the event of a disaster. If that's the case, I'm all for it.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (1)

space_hippy (625619) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188112)

Porn.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (2, Funny)

Ironchew (1069966) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188114)

Interplanetary service fees.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188144)

You have a $320 Comcast bill!? How is that even possible?

"Can you hear me now?"

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188162)

I maxed out Comcast services on their website and came up with $362 and some change per month, not including one-time setup fees. I'm sure you could easily reach $500/mo as soon as you start paying for movies and such.

at $8-$16/m a box + Triple Play $120-$200 + (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188236)

at $8-$16/m a box + Triple Play $120-$200 (120 promo rate for no HBO, Sports Entertainment Package, Cinemax, movie channel, and Showtime) + $5 emta rent + Movie Channel $18 yes comcast makes you pay more for moive channel and the top $200 package does not come with it. also stuff like MLB EI, NBA LP, NHL CI also cost alot as well.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (1)

CastrTroy (595695) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188260)

Well, not sure about ComCast, but Rogers, the main cable provider in Canada could probably easily serve you a $320 bill.

$99 a month for Ultimate 50 Mbps internet
$70 a month for a cell phone with small data plan (could cost more)
$100 for VIP Ultimate Cable TV.
$35 for VOIP home phone service.
Equals $304 a month. Add in Tax, and the bill would be way over $320. Sure it's not all going to the cable company, but the bill would still be greater than $320. Plus your cell phone cost could be much higher. Add in a few pay per view movies at $6 a pop, digital terminal rental, cable modem rental, and one could get a very high bill.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (1)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188372)

$300??? That's just nuts.

My TV costs nothing, my phone is about $10/month, and my internet is $15. If I absolutely "had" to have cable channels, then I'd get Dish for $20 but there's nothing on cable that entices me enough to pay that bill. Anyway the total would be $45. 1/6th as much
.

>>>$70 a month for a cell phone with small data plan

I didn't realize cable companies sold cellphones.. Hmmmm. Well I spend $5/month for mine, without a data plan.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (3, Insightful)

arth1 (260657) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188298)

ME. Right now. Why would I want to have my tax dollars on this. I have to pay the mortgage. I have to pay the $320 Comcast bill. Going to Mars isn't going to get me anywhere.

Human mentality...

Human mentality, indeed. This is why modern democracy doesn't work well. It's infinitely preferably to many of the alternatives, but it is still the belief that selfish, short-sighted and just plain stupid people are fit to rule a country.
Since power corrupts so completely, it's likely impossible to change this -- either you end up with idiot dictators, or idiot voters. Who both will ensure that safeguards against that situation becomes impossible to implement, for their own selfish reasons.

What's possible, though, is to exert influence and make plans that bet on not getting government support.
While establishing an Asimovian Foundation is utopian, it's not infeasible that private interests may be able to get off the ground, despite selfish and spiteful attempts at sabotage from the couch potatoes and ruling politicos (but I repeat myself), and with enough attempts, even survive.

But leave important decisions to voters, and you ensure that nothing ever gets done.

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188366)

Hmph. Why should the entire species be held hostage to YOUR obvious selfishness?

Damn neocons.......

Re:Yeah, but where does this get ME? (2, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188368)

On the plus side, while such a mentality will make getting off this rock pretty much impossible, it sure does put the value of preserving humanity in perspective...

Time schedule? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33187956)

Just about when does Hawking think we should leave?

If it's something for which we may have the technology no sooner than a couple of centuries down the road, is this really something we should worry about now?

Re:Time schedule? (1)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188202)

As ol' Dr. Zubrin says, "It shouldn't be humans to Mars in fifty years, it should be humans to Mars in ten."

I've been trying.. (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33187960)

..for as long as I can remember.

This is pretty much what I've been telling people (4, Interesting)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33187964)

We either leave this planet together, or we die on it divided. I think the greed inherent in human nature will prevent us from ever getting organized enough to leave this planet for another.

This actually kinda reminds me of a conversation we had last night....we watched the original V miniseries, and were talking about how stupid it was that they allowed the aliens into factories around the world simultaneously instead of just a factory or two at a time...but then, if they did that, countries would argue over who got to host them first. ::shakes head:: stupid human beings...

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (4, Insightful)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188064)

Even if all of humanity was unified, we'd still die eventually if we stayed here. This planet has an expiration date. It's nice to pretend that if we were all hippies and lived like cavemen, that it'd last forever, but that isn't the case. Sooner or later we're gonna have to get out of here, or go extinct.

Earth's "best if lived on by" date is far enough away that I'm not terribly worried about it, but even aside from that, there are always asteroids out there that could blindside us. And I'm sure that's the sort of thing Hawking is referring to anyways.

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188132)

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (1)

Cwix (1671282) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188224)

Is someone here writing a paper for a grade, or for a job? No.. So take your grammar nazing troll ass and get back under your bridge.

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (5, Insightful)

mellon (7048) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188138)

Well and good, but where do we get the energy to boost enough humans and tools into space to create a viable life-supporting ecosystem elsewhere? Hawking is a physicist, so I'm a bit surprised to hear him proposing something like this without explaining where the lift capacity is going to come from. There's a reason why Pan Am never began the orbital shuttle service depicted in 2001: A Space Odyssey (aside, of course, from the fact that they went out of business).

It doesn't matter... (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188186)

...the other planets don't want us.

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (4, Insightful)

Neil Boekend (1854906) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188204)

The problem with that sentiment is that the wars have actually helped technology evolve. China was advancing faster for a long time, until a large enough piece of land was covered by it that real wars became uncommon. In Europe we continued trying to wipe each other out and it caused a lot of technological improvements. Competing countries and corporations advance technology a lot faster compared to monopolies and true world powers.
The space race was sped up by the arms race between the USA and the USSR. Both just wanted to prove they were better.
War may be a costly way to advance technology and not a nice one, but it is an very effective one.
I would also prefer global peace as I do not think it's worth the suffering, but it would most probably hamper advancement, not speed it up.

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (5, Interesting)

oldspewey (1303305) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188326)

The space race was sped up by the arms race between the USA and the USSR. Both just wanted to prove they were better.

But this isn't really "war" in the conventional sense is it? And it was the period during which the fastest and most impressive aerospace advances came. So it would seem that a good dickwaving competition is at least as good as an actual war.

Re:This is pretty much what I've been telling peop (2, Insightful)

dtml-try MyNick (453562) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188358)

Unless a event occurs that is so impacting and unprecedented in known human history. Humans will never learn to unite and live in cooperation with each other. Like you said, it's not in our nature.

And with 'impacting and unprecedented' I'm thinking in terms of Divine intervention, alien visits (which might turn out to be the same thing), natural disaster killing 70/80+ percent of the human population, the made up Mayan prophecy turning out to be true after all..
That sort of stuff.

In other words, ain't gonna happen.

If we can hold out long enough hopefully technology will be so advanced and relatively cheap that at least the more fortunate in our society can get a second chance somewhere else.. (where they can start all over again)

Need For Tools (2, Insightful)

Cycloid Torus (645618) | more than 4 years ago | (#33187966)

What are the key technologies needed in order to do that and where do they stand today? How do we afford that while focus is on survival in much of the world - and on greater comfort in the rest of it? From where I stand it seems likely that we will have to wait for something drastic to get motivated.

Re:Need For Tools (0, Flamebait)

nomadic (141991) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188012)

Yeah, how come it's always the same scientists who have failed in developing technologies that will help us leave, who are telling us to leave?

Re:Need For Tools (2, Insightful)

ElectricTurtle (1171201) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188356)

And what is Dr. Stephen Hawking supposed to have developed? The guy deals with gravitational theory. I suppose you think he should have come up with some kind of Star Trek [memory-alpha.org] 'singularity drive' or something as a consequence? Please.

As with most things, it is pure cost that prevents in-system colonization not technological failings. The main cost is simply the size and fuel for the launch vehicle especially as it must be quite heavy to include enough radiation shielding.

I submit this possibility (5, Interesting)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33187976)

What if Earth isn't the first human colony, and these disasters have merely wiped out the evidence of our migration...

Re:I submit this possibility (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188062)

Then you get into Intelligent Design. If this were the case we wouldn't be seeing evidence that humans evolved here. Let alone matching the life here so closely.

Well, minus a super genesis machine that sped up evo... wait, nm. Carbon dating. Earth would be colony prime, the home world. Now, past disasters removing signs of past emigration....

Re:I submit this possibility (1)

dingen (958134) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188074)

This is basically the plot of Battlestar Gallactica.

Re:I submit this possibility (2, Insightful)

Mashhaster (1396287) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188076)

Yes, I remember seeing that on Battlestar Galactica just recently. Though the whole ending with Katie Sackhoff being an angel (falling into a sinkhole on an alien world?) and God using MAGIC to create a Viper spacefighter did suck.

Re:I submit this possibility (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188206)

im not exactly sure what we are talking about anymore. guess I need to fire up the TV more often.

Re:I submit this possibility (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188156)

What if Earth isn't the first human colony, and these disasters have merely wiped out the evidence of our migration...

How cool would it be if the fossils of dinosaurs were actually the remains biomechanical, space-traveling, laser-shooting interstellar vehicles?

That would be the Best.Videogame.Ever.

Re:I submit this possibility (5, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188160)

It's always been an intriguing thought, but the fact is, the evidence that homo sapiens evolved from native primate species here on Earth is quite clear, and grows clearer with each passing year.

Re:I submit this possibility (1)

Combatso (1793216) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188238)

ahh ha.. BUT, how do we know that it isnt easier sending the seeds of life to begin the process of evolution rather than sending a few million humans to other planets... it may be easier to primorial goo with all the building blocks on a multi-million year journey... wouldnt have to take as much life-support equipment with ya.

Re:I submit this possibility (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188230)

you are clearly unaware that we are really all descended from Golgafrinchans [wikipedia.org] , not apes.

clearly you are destined for the B-ark

His motives are showing... (2, Funny)

brian0918 (638904) | more than 4 years ago | (#33187978)

The dude just wants to finally make this [youtube.com] a reality.

Well...uh thanks (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33187982)

but haven't many famed scientists and the like said this?
It seems like every sound bite out of Hawking is heralded as a message from the oracle.
The idea of spreading to space certainly isn't new.

Re:Well...uh thanks (4, Insightful)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188046)

I think the point is that since, in addition to all those people, someone like Hawking is saying it as well just adds credence to the idea. No one is claiming that Hawking invented the idea; they're just pointing out that Hawking is one of the many who follow this particular line of thinking.

Re:Well...uh thanks (1)

OeLeWaPpErKe (412765) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188214)

Great, now let's see if we can get Paris Hilton to say the same.

Or do we wait for another slow news day ?

Re:Well...uh thanks (1)

mlts (1038732) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188258)

This is something that needs to be done. However, I wonder if/when this will be possible. China keeps exploding stuff to show off and making LEO impassible due to Kessler Syndrome. NASA is but a ghost of what it was, and it keeps getting defunded.

The problem is that space travel requires deep pockets, and until people with deep pockets see a ROI, all space ventures will end up being for either finding ways to get new satellites in space, and militias of various countries figuring out how to shoot the satellites down. Space travel is not going to happen unless there is another cold war, or there is something of value gotten by doing so.

A bit early for leaving (4, Insightful)

sarbonn (1796548) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188024)

Unfortunately, we really need to get our shit together on this planet before we start thinking about colonizing others.

Re:A bit early for leaving (5, Funny)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188102)

Nah, let's just write this one off as a practice planet. We won't make the same mistakes again since we're human after all :)

Re:A bit early for leaving (2, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188140)

Then we'd never leave!

Who cares? (1, Insightful)

smith6174 (986645) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188026)

I don't want to seem like a total pessimist, but I don't care at all what happens to the human race. If every human dies because of a meteor or something, the universe won't even notice. I think it is a bit premature, since we have never publicly met any others, to believe that our species is worthy of being preserved and expanded beyond earth. Thanks for the books, Hawking, but there has to be higher priority things to do.

Re:Who cares? (1)

Tack (4642) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188208)

This is depressingly nihilistic. There are legitimate arguments to be had about where our priorities should be given the vast suffering on our current planet, but to say you don't care at all what happens to our species is where I, and I hope most other people, would part company with you.

Statistical arguments are all we have to suggest there's other intelligent life out there. The evidence we have says we're unique. Either way, imagine what we can accomplish in the next several thousand years if we managed to survive. It would be tragic not to have the opportunity.

Re:Who cares? (1)

oodaloop (1229816) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188272)

Wait, it doesn't matter if the human race lives or dies, but there's more important things to do? Like what, for example?

Re:Who cares? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188290)

Agreed. Why should I care about what happens to the human race in 1000s of years?

Humanity is a cesspool of happily ignorant people and corrupt, greedy scum. I certainly don't want to waste any of my resources to ensure their survival way beyond my life-span.

We have more important problems right now; which we are utterly unable to manage by the way. The whole "space exploration for the good of humanity" is a quaint notion of well-off people.

Where to, how? (4, Insightful)

Midnight Thunder (17205) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188032)

Okay, I'm quite happy to go find a new home amongst the stars, but at this point the only way that is going to happen is if the earth explodes and my ashes get distributed through space.

If our future is on worlds beyond earth, then we need to start with a space transportation, of the form of a single stage vehicle that can at least go to the moon and back repeatedly, with a turn around time of less than two days. Additionally the vehicle needs to be able to return from the moon without having to depend on an already established infrastructure.

I am a big fan of travelling to Mars and beyond, but the truth is we should establish a solid space flight foundation first. At the moment the technology we have is expensive and suitable in most cases only for one-way flights and of a crew of no more than seven people. Once we resolve the transportation issue, then we the Moon and Mars suddenly become relatively easy. One way flights are great for automated payloads, but for anything intended to transport humans, then we still have a ways to go.

I really believe that we need an x-prize designed for a single stage reusable space vehicle. The aim: launch into orbit with a single stage, do a full orbit, return to earth and do the same thing a second time within two days. The x-prize would be split into two parts: unmanned for the first offering and manned for the second offering.

Voice Over (5, Funny)

ciderbrew (1860166) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188038)

Does anyone else read the part in quotes in a synthesizer voice?

That quote (1)

zoomshorts (137587) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188040)

"spread the load" sounds like a porno plot! Or title :)

I have been saying that as well (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188044)

A lot of people probably think the same. That's not going to make it happen. A close call might change our course, but until then people will always feel they have more important things to do. We'll keep working on massive amounts of distractions, luxuries and other instant gratifications, because as a species we're really not that bright.

mammals (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188052)

Humans are mammals by the way

Will all of this be for nothing? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188058)

Commander Jeffrey Sinclair of Babylon 5 explains to an ISN reporter the fate facing mankind if it abandons space exploration. This monologue places the current problems facing mankind, such as global warming, war and disease in perspective.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkj2lR9CT08

ridiculous (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188060)

Whatever is born, must die. He seems to have forgotten Newton's third law. - "To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions."

Die. (5, Interesting)

Paul Rose (771894) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188066)

What's wrong with dying? We all do it sooner or later as individuals. Why should the race last forever?

Re:Die. (1)

TheStatsMan (1763322) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188200)

Are you asking for a challenge?

Re:Die. (1)

slmdmd (769525) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188310)

What's wrong with dying? We all do it sooner or later as individuals. Why should the race last forever?

I completely agree. Whatever is born, must die. He seems to have forgotten Newton's third law - To every action there is always an equal and opposite reaction: or the forces of two bodies on each other are always equal and are directed in opposite directions.

It won't (1)

nten (709128) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188350)

I think entropy pretty much guarantees that humanity (and thought in general) will eventually cease in this universe. Perhaps there is a workaround but it seems unlikely. We want to continue because it is consistent with our programming, but I really don't see sacks of mostly water working for future expansion. We need to be able to house human-like consciousness in more robust vessels to make it a go. That raises so many issues though. Copying people breaks democracy for one thing. At least as far as I can imagine.

Not even practical (5, Interesting)

elrous0 (869638) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188072)

Nothing short of a earth destroying asteroid/comet hit would render this planet less inhabitable than even the most hospitable other planetary bodies within our reach. Even a Yucatan-sized hit would still leave the earth much more survivable than anywhere else. It would be WAY more practical to design underground bunkers and habitats here on earth than to try to move colonies to the moon or Mars. And nothing short of a hit that tears the planet into pieces is going to make earth less appealing than Mars or the moon.

Re:Not even practical (1)

snookerhog (1835110) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188158)

Underground bunkers on earth or underground bunkers in space, huh?

Guess I better get my spade and start digging.

Re:Not even practical (2, Insightful)

SoupIsGoodFood_42 (521389) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188254)

Even after Earth has be engulfed by the sun?

We've seen this twice before. (4, Informative)

Gribflex (177733) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188080)

Back in 2006: Hawking Says Humans Must Go Into Space [slashdot.org]
And again in 2000: Hawking on Earth's Lifespan [slashdot.org]

Re:We've seen this twice before. (1)

aicrules (819392) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188288)

And we still haven't listened. Given the frequency/pattern, we should expect his next reminder in 2012...coincidence?

Why sometimes astrophysicists are dumb (2, Insightful)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188086)

From TFA:

"The nearest star [to Earth] is Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years away," says University of Michigan astrophysicist Katherine Freese, "That means that, if you were traveling at the speed of light the whole time, it would take 4.2 years to get there."

Wrong. It would take no time at all.

Dr Freese - you have failed your special relativity course.

Re:Why sometimes astrophysicists are dumb (0)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188122)

On the upside, if man ever develops the technology to travel at the speed of light while remaining shielded from cosmic radiation, he could effectively travel into the future. "A five year trip at light speed could push an astronaut forward by 1000 earth years," says Freese, "If he wanted to see if any humans were still around by then."

Oh dear. Wrong again.

Re:Why sometimes astrophysicists are dumb (4, Insightful)

Chris Mattern (191822) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188226)

Well, it depends on what frame of reference you're measuring from.

Re:Why sometimes astrophysicists are dumb (1)

DiamondGeezer (872237) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188280)

She measured it from the perspective of the traveler. Hence its a stupid thing to say.

Re:Why sometimes astrophysicists are dumb (1)

mrsquid0 (1335303) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188306)

Oops. Posted to remove a bad moderation.

So? (0, Troll)

Jerrei (1515395) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188088)

Who cares what a physician thinks? go back to popping hemorrhoids buddy.

Thank you (1)

Issarlk (1429361) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188096)

Thank you, captain obvious !

Here's an even more insightful warning: abandon the universe or die.

Just need a way to ascend to a higher plane (2, Insightful)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188098)

Just need a way to ascend to a higher plane

Why? (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188100)

Seriously...in the eyes of an atheist, why is there any desire to preserve mankind? If we're here by chance, we should go away by chance as well. Ultimately something better will come along.

Hawking did NOT say that (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188110)

his voicebox was hax0r3d hard

I'm not a super-genius (3, Insightful)

Ozlanthos (1172125) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188118)

II've been telling people for over a decade (for many reasons...mostly having to do with our biological necessities) that we "need to get off of this rock"!

-Oz

Oh, look, a content mill getting attention (4, Informative)

0xdeadbeef (28836) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188124)

'I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space,' Hawking tells Big Think.

No, he doesn't. He said that exact quote two years ago, to CNN [cnn.com] . Of course, it may not necessarily be plagiarism, because he's been saying this for years [slashdot.org] , and it isn't like he types off the cuff.

This guy needs to be quiet (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188130)

First killer aliens that are going to kill us all and now this? He is starting to sound a lot like James Lovelock - once a useful scientist now just cashing in on his reputation before he retires or kicks the bucket.

You can't just live your life in fear of what could go wrong. sure bad things will happen eventually but things like the sun burning out and nuclear warfare are not really on the agenda these days. If some ecological disaster comes along it will most likely be easier to fix than finding a whole new planet and terraforming it

Re:This guy needs to be quiet (4, Insightful)

abigsmurf (919188) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188354)

Yeah, he's just totally riding off of the fact he managed to become celebrated as one of the smartest people in the world and helped millions become interested in astro-physics, all whilst dealing with a crippling disability.

He clearly needs to get over himself! You can totally hear the smugness in that voice synthesiser of his!

Bacteria (2, Interesting)

lobiusmoop (305328) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188146)

I think a more realistic plan would be to seed suitable planets with bacteria and just let evolution take care of the rest. Simpler lifeforms are much more resilient to extremes of temperature and atmosphere and are suitable for cryogenic storage for the long journeys. Animals higher up the evolutionary chain are too closely adapted to Earth to survive elsewhere really.

The only way forward is backward. (1)

NtwoO (517588) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188148)

We will consume this planet trying to escape it. If we don't figure out a way to live with earth, then we will not be able to live without it.

Already too late? (1)

bhunachchicken (834243) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188178)

How long would it take to set up a sustainable colony on Mars? Would we actually have more luck on the moon, or even building habitable orbital stations?

Domed settlements on Mars would be a short-term solution, but you'd probably need to terraform it at some point, to deal with the demands a species such as the human race would place on it. Wouldn't that take a few decades or more? We're not even sure if seeding an atmosphere with algae would work.

Likely some nutcase would sabotage the entire space faring race project by calling it a pox in the eye of God or something ridiculous like that.

And ultimately, by the time all this was done wouldn't Earth already be teetering on the brink of overpopulation, leading to wars for resources, global famine and zombie uprisings?

whos to say the ussr is not there now? or was ther (1)

Joe The Dragon (967727) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188274)

whos to say the ussr is not there now? or was there?

Assumptions (2, Insightful)

dwightk (415372) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188182)

It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million.

Right, because space and non-earthlike planets are so much less prone to disaster.

The survivors joke (5, Funny)

smith6174 (986645) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188188)

It won't take too much technology to reproduce Hawking's voice saying "I told you so"

Meh... (2, Interesting)

vvaduva (859950) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188232)

Me thinks that the future of the human race is where we belong, here. We are probably thousands of years away from workable space travel. Perhaps we are stuck here for a reason, and perhaps this is an opportunity for all of us to start working out our issues and learn to live together with reasonable differences.

Re:Meh... (0, Flamebait)

strack (1051390) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188318)

what a pile of divine manifest destiny bullshit. we dont 'belong' anywhere, theres no 'reason', beyond the practical, as to why we are stuck here. and dont give me that hippy drum circle 'working out our issues' claptrap. and we are most definitely not thousands of years away from workable space travel. you are guilty of having no ambition, no vision, for human exploration of space. you are, quite boring.

straight priorities (2, Insightful)

dx40sh (1773338) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188234)

I think we could easily manage to come up with the necessary tools/technologies required for sustained space travel if and only if we stop focusing our time/money/effort on trying to kill each other. Where you were born or what you look like does not make you better than somebody else. Just because somebody disagrees with you does not make them wrong, or worthy of being persecuted and/or killed. Others do not exist to provide you with everything you want. Desire is not an occupation.

Granted, I think that most humans will always have a competitive side. But it's a little ridiculous for the US to spend almost 37 times as much on the military budget [via the DOD] as they do on space exploration/research. And those numbers do not include anything like the FBI, homeland security, veterans affairs, DOE, and interest/fees from previous wars. If you include those numbers, the military spending is more like 60 times as much as the NASA budget. That's pretty ridiculous, in my opinion.

Yes we know! (1)

travdaddy (527149) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188252)

Yeah, yeah, Stephen Hawking, we already know this! We saw those [wikipedia.org] movies [wikipedia.org] too [wikipedia.org] .

"Sustainability" kool-aid (1)

space_hippy (625619) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188264)

Don’t get me wrong, I’m all for using resources in an intelligent manner and getting the most out of them. The planet is a resource, eventually resources run out, no matter how efficient (or “sustainable” for the kool-aid drinkers) you make a process. Even if we destroyed every gasoline powered car, coal fired power plant and incandescent light bulb eventually we will use up all the resources on this planet. It won’t be in my lifetime, but it won’t be a million years either.

Contraception (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188278)

Wouldn't it be easier to just wear some condoms instead of moving mankind off of the planet? - j

He knows something... (1)

Crudely_Indecent (739699) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188296)

It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years...

Certainly, there are possibilities for many types of disasters - meteor/comet impacts, tsunami, volcanic eruption, global warmi...er....climate cha...um.... whatever the eco-freakos are calling it these days.

When I read that statement, I get the impression that there is some unavoidable, impending doom that Hawking knows about. Like "The next hundred years, holy crap - good luck! If you survive that - hold onto your hats, then it gets bad." as he escapes into a Hawking Hole [theinfosphere.org]

Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188312)

And why do we have to survive as a human race?

Haha (-1, Redundant)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188320)

He said spread the load.

Anonymous Coward (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 4 years ago | (#33188340)

spread the load - Stephen Hawking

Sage advice.

prerequisite (1)

nycguy (892403) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188348)

The main goal of humanity should be finding a sustainable source of energy (e.g., fusion). Our entire economy, lifestyle, etc., is driven by cheap, abundant energy. Getting out of the gravity well, building and running orbital stations, transporting people to other planets, constructioning and maintaining habital environments and colonies are all going to require even more massive amounts of energy. Moreover, the source of that energy must be transportable and work in a variety of environments to accomplish those aims. Until we have such a source of energy, our future is in doubt, regardless of whether we stay here on Earth or not.

DIE!! (1)

dandart (1274360) | more than 4 years ago | (#33188370)

Hey, by the title of this story on my news reader, it looked like the Earth was going to have a massive disaster, like that asteroid. I thought we were screwed. Instead, it's just about him saying we should get out more. Boooring.
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