Hawking: Space key to human survival

HONG KONG, China (AP) — The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there’s an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said.

Humans could have a permanent base on the moon in 20 years and a colony on Mars in the next 40 years, the British scientist told a news conference.

“We won’t find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system,” added Hawking, who came to Hong Kong to a rock star’s welcome Monday. Tickets for his lecture Thursday were sold out.

Hawking said that if humans can avoid killing themselves in the next 100 years, they should have space settlements that can continue without support from Earth.

“It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species,” Hawking said. “Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of.”

Is it possible that humans could be wiped out? I suppose so, but I don’t make myself crazy with fear about it. But I suppose that it never hurts to be prepared. And so begins the race for the next place to fight over.

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