It’s time to start shopping for a new solar system. Earth will be done for humans within 1,000 years, so at least some of us need to get off the planet or it’s buh-bye for our species, says Stephen Hawking, according to Extreme Tech.
The British theoretical physicist pointed out that the earth, like all planets, is fragile. Current life forms, especially larger ones like humans, could cease to exist due to any number of catastrophic planetary hair days. All it takes is for our atmosphere to take just one sick day and we’re history with no one to read about it.
The odds of today being the last day? Not too great, although a large enough, previously-undetected, careening asteroid could raise a planet-sized dust cover that would block sunlight for months, according to NASA. A sudden planetary event could bring a relatively quick demise, which might be merciful compared to the other threats Hawking envisions.
The author of the bestselling A Brief History of Time is more concerned about the potential slower agony of threats to our life on earth from climate change due to global warming, artificial intelligence, and even alien invasion.
If threatening aliens do show up, they won’t arrive in spaceships wielding plasma ray weapons. More likely, aliens that could crash our planet party would be in the form of a virus or bacteria hitching a ride amidst the “100 tons of dust and sand-sized particles” by which the planet is bombarded every day, according to NASA.
Of Hawking’s top four, he said in a presentation at Oxford’s University Union that the greatest concerns are for the next century, during which developing artificial intelligence and continuing global climate change could each alter the “future of humanity.”
The answer to preserving humanity is a “backup.” Hawking said the only way to protect our species is to have humans in more than one place in the universe. Another group would need to live independently on another planet or preferably in another solar system in case our sun spins out, winks off, or suddenly boosts its own emissions beyond our biology’s survival range.
SpaceX CEO Elon Musk’s plans to colonize Mars with 1 million people to save humanity are in alignment with Hawking’s predictions, but perhaps the Tesla founder needs to think bigger and beyond our solar system.