Riverside – Famed theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and author Stephen Hawking recently warned that if humanity does not become a space-faring species in the next five centuries, we may go extinct.
According to a report by Live Science Magazine, Hawking, during a November 5th presentation, advised that humanity must get it together and “boldly go where no one has gone before,” warning the planet’s ever-increasing human population and expanding energy needs could result in the earth being uninhabitable by the year 2600.
Hawking also stressed the exploration potential of a $100 million project, Breakthrough Starshot, that is aimed at developing tiny, un-crewed, sail-equipped probes that will be accelerated to 20 percent the speed of light by powerful lasers.
The project hopes to create “a Nano-craft that can get to Mars in less than an hour and theoretically fly by the closest exoplanet to Earth—the possibly habitable Proxima b, which lies about 4.2 light-years from us—after a space journey of just 20 years.”
Sometime after the middle of this century, provided these efforts are successful, humanity may have its first picture of another life-bearing planet in orbit around the nearest star.