Professor Stephen Hawking is a world-renowned physicist. He has brought us theories on black holes and refining quantum theory and relativity. He’s also written many books explaining physics to the layman, such as his famous A Brief History of Time.
When such an intelligent person speaks it is wise to listen. This week, at the Starmus Festival of science and the art, the professor had some advice for humanity – for the benefit of us all, nations should work together in the field of space exploration. Here’s just a little of what he said:
‘Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity; it would unite competitive nations in a single goal, to face the common challenge for us all.
‘A new and ambitious space programme would excite and stimulate interest in other areas, such as astrophysics and cosmology.’
He even suggested a possible timeline for our first steps into living on other worlds. Leading nations, like the US and China, should send astronauts to the Moon before 2020, people to Mars by 2025 and have a permanently occupied lunar base by 2047.
Of course, lots of people think that the money required for such an ambitious space programme would be better spent here on Earth, what with overpopulation and climate change. But the professor addressed these concerns:
‘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…
‘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.’
So, will Hawking’s dreams be realised? Well, the European Space Agency is currently working with Russia on building a lunar base and NASA has plans to take men to Mars in the near future, so maybe they will. However, with the divisions the world is currently facing, nations seem to be getting further apart rather than working more closely together.
It’s not the first time Professor Hawking has offered his advice. And, as you can see from his comments about Donald Trump, he’s not averse to talking politics. In the recent referendum he campaigned for the UK to remain a member of the EU and, since the vote, has voiced his concern for Britain’s future outside of Europe. He also gave his backing to the Labour Party in the most recent general election.
Do you think Stephen Hawking is right – that nations should be coming together for the sake of humanity’s future? Or perhaps you think he is a left-wing, bleeding-heart liberal who should keep his opinions to himself. Whatever your thoughts, please share them with Education Quizzes by filling in the comments box below. We want to hear from YOU!