Stephen Hawking believes going to other planets is necessary for human survival

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Saturday, December 2, 2006

Stephen Hawking, a renowned physicist known for having Lou Gehrig's Disease, believes that the survival of the human race depends on whether or not we colonize other planets.

"The long-term survival of the human race is at risk as long as it is confined to a single planet," he said during a Thursday radio interview with BBC. "Sooner or later, disasters such as an asteroid collision or nuclear war could wipe us all out. But once we spread out into space and establish independent colonies, our future should be safe."

The idea of 'warp drive', popularized by science fiction writers and televised in the series Star Trek, enables space ships to travel vast distances in a short time.

"Unfortunately, this would violate the scientific law which says that nothing can travel faster than light," said Hawking.

By using a yet-to-be developed 'matter/anti-matter annihilation' propulsion system, space travel velocities could approach the speed of light, according to Hawking. The closest stars could be reached in 6 years. "It wouldn't seem so long for those on board," he said.

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