Renowned theoretical physicist and professor Stephen Hawking has encouraged the world’s biggest nations to send astronauts to the moon by 2020.
In addition, there should be a lunar base in 30 years, and people should be able to make it to the Mars to live on the Red Planet by 2025, the BBC reports. Hawking said that the aims now should be to restore space programs, create new alliances and provide humanity with a sense of purpose.
Hawking was speaking at the Starmus Festival, an event that celebrates science and the arts, being held in Trondheim, Norway. He said,
Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity.
He added, “I hope it would unite competitive nations in a single goal, to face the common challenge for us all. A new and ambitious space program would excite (young people), and stimulate interest in other areas, such as astrophysics and cosmology.”
Aside from discussing space travel, Hawking likewise addressed the issue of spending to solve problems on Earth instead of focusing on space, and delivered a sharp criticism of US President Donald Trump. He said, “I am not denying the importance of fighting climate change and global warming, unlike Donald Trump, who may just have taken the most serious, and wrong, decision on climate change this world has seen.”
Space travel and exploration is necessary to ensure the survival of humanity, Hawking said, precisely because of problems like climate change and dwindling natural resources. He explained, “We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds. It is time to explore other solar systems. Spreading out may be the only thing that saves us from ourselves. I am convinced that humans need to leave Earth.”
There is no long-term future for humans on Earth, Hawking said. Either this planet will be hit by an asteroid, or the sun will eventually eat it. Travelling to other planets would “elevate humanity,” he said. “Whenever we make a great new leap, such as the Moon landings, we bring people and nations together, usher in new discoveries, and new technologies.”
He closed by saying, “If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before. I hope for the best. I have to. We have no other option.”