Hawking: Humans Only Have 1000 Years Left on Earth

British physicist Stephen Hawking revealed in a presentation at the Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles that humans will need to vacate Earth before the end of the millennium, as they likely won't survive on Earth beyond that point.

And we thought the declining PC market was bad news.

The 71-year-old physicist said that humans need to continue pushing out into space to guarantee the future of mankind. "We won't survive another 1,000 years without escaping our fragile planet," he told an audience of doctors, nurses and employees.

That's easier said than done, at least for now. Mankind was already supposed to be setting foot on Mars by 2015, first by building the ISS and then assembling a ship in space. But as it stands now, no human has even returned to the moon since the early 1970s. The United States' current fleet of Shuttles are officially retired, and the first manned mission of NASA's next spaceship, the Orion Multi-Purpose Crew Vehicle, won't take place until after 2020.

Currently, the primary taxi to the ISS is the fourth-generation Russian Soyuz which has been the primary "bus" to and from Earth since 2003. NASA reportedly made a deal with the Russian Space Agency back in March 2011 for 12 trips to the station for $753 million USD, or $63 million per seat. This will cover American astronauts until 2015. Eventually NASA wants to rely on the private sector via the Commercial Orbital Transportation Services (COTS) program.

Of course, based on Hawking's comment, it sounds like humans have plenty of time to get their act together and branch out to other planets Star Trek style – 987 years at the least. Meanwhile, Hawking took a tour of a stem cell laboratory at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center that's focused on trying to slow the progression of Lou Gehrig's disease. Hawking was diagnosed with the neurological disorder 50 years ago while a student at Cambridge University, and has survived longer than most of the people who have been diagnosed with the disease.

During his presentation, Hawking told the audience that when he was first diagnosed, he became depressed and initially didn't see a reason to finish his doctorate. But he continued to push through his studies despite the diagnosis.

"If you understand how the universe operates, you control it in a way," he said.

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  • del35
    Fortunately not much intelligence is needed to make such a prediction. This is one of the few truths that Dr. Hawking has uttered.
  • aoneone
    You have to understand that technology moves close to exponentially rather than linearly. In other words, things may seem slow but within the next 100 years or so, there will be progress. Just look at us now versus the Industrial Revolution. Just hang in there and stop overpopulating our Planet that's all. ^_^
  • BulkZerker
    Aoneone. Tell that to the impoverished. And religious breeders.
  • nuvon
    I wish I can live that long to prove it....
  • ceh4702
    People that make these kind of remarks should go back and read the remarks of the past. They said we would not be able to feed all the people when the population of the world was about 1 billion. However we are still here. Humans are able to adapt and develop new technologies. This will not change any time soon. There is no guarantee we can find another habitable planet. Necessity is the mother of invention. All it takes is one devastating disease to drastically reduce world population.
  • NuclearShadow
    Wow, I had no idea he was 71. I don't know if his statement is correct or not but regardless he is right about us needing to take space travel seriously.
  • eklipz330
    a man whom i have infinite respect for. of course this is all just speculation, and nobody will live to see it, but it's worth taking notice from a guy like him
  • nexians
    Am happy if they are building an Enterprise Ship as shown in pic
  • DRosencraft
    I think we must all respect Stephen Hawking. He is a very brilliant scientist. That being said, I don't think it's ever good for any scientist to get into these hyper ling-term predictions. There are so many things that can happen to a planet over that period of time. Heck, civilization has only been around for about 5000 years. There's nothing known of to compare our species to relative to intelligence and means, in terms of the ability to survive on a planet on that time-scale. You would have to be fairly certain that there will be some event that will make life actually impossible on the planet to assert 1000 years as a benchmark for "must leave the planet". Unless you're talking about space colonies, it's not even all that likely we'll have anywhere to feasibly get to in that short a time span in terms of a livable planet to settle on. I agree with the idea in principle Hawking is putting forward, but I guess I take issue with his supporting assertion, or I guess the way he makes his case.
  • ohim
    Sadly humanity spends money on useless things like religion and wars instead of human evolution.