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Time To Look For Planet B? Stephen Hawking Says Yes.

Time To Look For Planet B? Stephen Hawking Says Yes.

Space exploration just doesn’t get us jazzed up like it used to. In the early days of NASA, the potential to explore the universe beyond our own atmosphere captivated the entire nation, young and old. We dreamed of who and what might be out there, and imagined living on other planets in relative peace and harmony. Now we just play video games about space instead.

It’s been decades since we’ve made progress in our quest to explore the galaxy, and we’ve gutted NASA’s budget. Sure we’ve sent up satellites and robotic probes, but nothing that really gets us closer to human contact with other terrestrial bodies, and according to scientist Stephen Hawking, that’s a problem.

The acclaimed researcher recently issued an urgent call for the continuation of space exploration programs. According to Hawking, if humans don’t find somewhere beyond Earth to live within the next millennium, our entire species could very well become extinct. “We must continue to go into space for humanity,” Hawking recently said at an event at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

Basically, Hawking is admitting what activists and scientists have known for a long time: we’ve done and continue to do irreparable damage to our home planet. We do this despite the fact that we have no escape plan and no way to get to a Planet B even if one does exist. Sure it won’t matter to us, or even to our great grandchildren, who are likely to pass on long before climate change and pollution render this planet inhabitable. But rest assured–it will happen. And then what?

NASA’s Kepler space telescope recently discovered three exoplanets that may be capable of supporting life, and one of them is perhaps the most Earth-like world spotted to date. According to Space.com, the most interesting one is called Kepler-62f:

…a rocky world just 1.4 times bigger than Earth that circles a star smaller and dimmer than the sun. Kepler-62f’s newfound neighbor, Kepler-62e, is just 1.6 times larger than Earth, making the pair among the smallest exoplanets yet found in their star’s habitable zone — the just-right range of distances where liquid water can exist on a world’s surface.

It will take many decades before we’re technologically advanced enough to test our theories about Kepler 62f, and even longer before we’re in a position to place human life there on even a short term basis. While that time frame may make Hawking uneasy, it’s a blessing in disguise for the health of the universe.

It may be at least a millennium before we can shed the selfish, greedy impulses that led us to pillage Earth in the first place. Moving to another planet without first acknowledging what we did wrong on the first one could be disastrous. Do you think being forced into exile would finally be the wake up call humanity needs to change its parasitic ways? Share your thoughts in a comment.

 

Related Reading:

NASA’s Kepler Mission Discovers 54 Inhabitable Planets

Four Rules to Save The Planet: Stop Peeing Where We Sleep

NASA’s New Video Provides Peek At Life On Mars

 

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129 comments

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4:50PM PDT on Jul 14, 2013

Why can't we do both? However, if we don't take care of Earth what makes you think we'll take care of the next place we land.. . . . . . . . . .

4:08PM PDT on May 10, 2013

it is time our spices became extinct. and a scientist thinks it is ok to pollute and drive this planet to extinction so we should start looking for a virgin planet to ruin. Sick! I hope there are aliens out there watching making sure the solar system is safe from us.

9:27AM PDT on May 7, 2013

Moving to a new planet, is a bit like trying to avoid a Karmic consequence or obligation… I’d hazard a guess: that such wouldn't work…

2:22PM PDT on May 6, 2013

Gross human Overpopulation is the Mother of All Our problems. Let's practice strict birth control, bring our Earth population down to a comfortably sustainable level, and explore the Universe when we are able for fun and adventure and knowledge.

11:02PM PDT on May 5, 2013

Not against space exploration ,but unless we find a practical energy source, better protection from radiation, and can mass produce or scale up the number of passengers colonization is NOT the solution. It costs billions to send men into near Earth orbit and expends a lot of resources in the construction of the rockets and their fuels. Our population size would not be dented even if we could launch thousands of rockets a year and the possible damage to our DNA after prolonged exposure to cosmic radiation on these obviously longer flights would mean future health issues to these astronauts and their offspring. I think we should spend our money and resources in saving what we do have here on Earth. Again, not against the dream but at the moment we cannot even feed our present day population or provide proper medical. The astronauts or future colonists would also increase the gap between the haves and those who do not have the money or connections to get on these proposed ideas. Look at the $200,000.00 price tag for a suborbital 50 minute flight. Just another level of frustration and resentment for those dreaming of space and knowing that it is futile to even dream of being near the launch facility because they could not afford the schooling or training to work there.

3:07PM PDT on May 3, 2013

I think if we move to another planet we will do the exact same thing because humans just never get the big picture and the mind set will always be well we can just move to another planet. I also think that since we messed up Earth we should have to stay here and suffer the consequences like all of our plants and animals that are going to have to stay and deal with our mistakes. I think the animals should get the ride to the new planet, they did nothing wrong.

5:32PM PDT on May 1, 2013

I would love to see this happen one day.

10:08AM PDT on May 1, 2013

ty

11:23AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

It's time we grew up a little bit, and recognised we aren't the all-powerful humans some of us would like to think we are, and behave a little more responsibly to and on the planet, which hasn't got infinite resources.

6:27AM PDT on Apr 30, 2013

Thank you Beth, for Sharing this!

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