In a recent event in the London’s Science Museum, acclaimed physicist and cosmologist, Stephen Hawking, recently voiced out several of his opinions about the human race, including his belief that the species’ hope for survival is through space exploration.
Stephen Hawking is best known for his book “A Brief History of Time” and more recently, as being the inspiration for the movie “The Theory of Everything”. Due to his numerous accolades in the fields of Physics, Mathematics, Natural Science and Cosmology, he is considered to be one of the greatest minds of our time. Diagnosed with neurodegenerative disease ALS at the age of 21, this did not stop him from making significant contributions to his chosen fields. He now uses a computerized voice generation system to share his ideas with the rest of the world, and even now, at the age of 72, still plays an active role in Cambridge University’s Department for Applied Maths and Theoretical Physics, with several academic titles to his name.
It was no small wonder then that when VisitLondon.com held a contest with a Science Museum tour with Stephen Hawking as the prize, many people scrambled for it. Ultimately, 24-year old Adaeze Uyanwah from the California won.
It was during this tour that Uyanwah asked Hawking about two things: what human shortcoming he would change and what human trait he would enhance.
To these questions, Hawking answered, “The human failing I would most like to correct is aggression.” He added that it made sense to employ it during the “caveman days” when it was necessary for survival, but that he felt that now it “threatens to destroy us all.” He also mentioned that this aggression could lead to a nuclear war that had the potential to destroy the human race.
To weigh it out, he responded that the trait he believed we needed more of was empathy, which he stated should replace aggression. He believes that empathy “brings us together in a peaceful loving state.”
This then led to his pronouncement about space travel and how it can help humanity survive. According to the Cambridge News, Hawking said, “I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be space and that it represents an important life insurance for our future survival, as it could prevent the disappearance of humanity by colonizing other planets.”
He added several thoughts to this statement, including that the Apollo mission of sending man to the moon has affected us in “ways that we don’t yet understand”, and that even if space travel has not “solved any of our immediate problems”, it has taught us to learn more about these problems and have taught us to be more introspective.
Hawking is, of course, not alone in his passion for the advancement of space travel. Several space agencies have missions that involve finding more habitable planets, such as the Orion mission to Mars, and a possible mission to Europa, Jupiter’s moon.
The success of the idea of humans living and thriving on another planet is not far from being tested. Only last week, Mars One, a non-profit Dutch organization, finalized its list of 100 people that will be sent to colonize Mars in only a decade from now.