Professor Stephen Hawking has warned that mankind will not survive another millenia unless it makes a home beyond Earth’s atmosphere.
The celebrated physicist was addressing a lecture audience at the Oxford Union debating society on Monday evening when he gave the stark warning.
“Most recent advances in cosmology have been achieved from space where there are uninterrupted views of our Universe,” he said “but we must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet. “I therefore want to encourage public interest in space, and I have been getting my training in early.”
Earlier this year Professor Hawking helped unveil the Virgin’s Galactic SpaceShipTwo, saying at the launch: “I have had ALS for over 50 years now and, while I have no fear of adventure, others do not always take the same view. If I am able to go – and if Richard will still take me, I would be very proud to fly on this spaceship.”
In Oxford this week he described the current day to be a “glorious time to be alive and doing research in theoretical physics.
“Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years and I am happy if I have made a small contribution.
“The fact that we humans who are ourselves mere collections of fundamental particles of nature have been able to come so close to understanding the laws that are governing us and our universe is a great achievement.”
Concluding, he told the audience: “Remember to look up to the stars and not down at your feet.
“Try to make sense of what you see and wonder about what makes the universe exist.
“Be curious and however life may seem there’s always something you can do and succeed at – it matters that you don’t just give up.”