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Stephen Hawking: mankind must move to outer space within a century - Printable Version

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Stephen Hawking: mankind must move to outer space within a century - TriWooOx - 08-10-2010

Quote:The renowned astrophysicist said he fears mankind is in great danger and its future "must be in space" if it is to survive.

In an interview he said threats to the existence of the human race such as war, resource depletion and overpopulation meant it was at its greater risk ever.

Although a long advocate of colonising space in order to continue man's reign, this is his direst warning to date.

"It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million," he told the website Big Think.

"Our only chance of long-term survival is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth but to spread out into space.

"We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space.

"That is why I'm in favour of manned, or should I say 'personed', space flight."

Earlier this year Professor Hawking warned that exploring space may not be entirely without risk.

In a series for the Discovery Channel, he said humans should be wary about making contact with alien life forms as they may not be friendly.

But he said as long as we remained the only intelligent life in our galaxy and avoided destroying ourselves we should be safe.

"I see great dangers for the human race," Hawking said. "There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future."

"But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space," he said.

Getting to another planet will prove a challenge, not to mention colonising it for humanity.

Katherine Freese, a University of Michigan astrophysicist, told Big Think that "the nearest star [to Earth] is Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years away.

That means that, if you were travelling at the speed of light the whole time, it would take 4.2 years to get there" – or about 50,000 years using current rocket science.

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/science/space/7935505/Stephen-Hawking-mankind-must-move-to-outer-space-within-a-century.html


RE: Stephen Hawking: mankind must move to outer space within a century - JazzRoc - 08-11-2010

(08-10-2010, 08:41 AM)TriWooOx Wrote: Katherine Freese, a University of Michigan astrophysicist, told Big Think that "the nearest star [to Earth] is Proxima Centauri which is 4.2 light years away. That means that, if you were travelling at the speed of light the whole time, it would take 4.2 years to get there" – or about 50,000 years using current rocket science.
Proxima is unlikely to contain a "Goldilocks" planet. There may easily NOT be one within 100 light years.
Even so, a nuclear reactor-powered particle accelerator (it's still a rocket, but with VERY FAST output velocity) may enable relativistic velocities and keep the experienced journey time down to acceptable levels. It would have to be quite large, however, to be able to "deal with" the avoidance of collision with "matter". I don't mean space rocks, either, or even DUST. I mean MOLECULES OF GAS. a Bussard arrangement, perhaps. The rocket would be designed to maintain a constant acceleration of 1 G. At the mid-point it pitches to face back down its line of flight, and reapplies the 1 G acceleration, except, of course, it is now deceleration. At the mid-point is the max speed of the journey. I can only envisage an extended family carrying seeds and power generators and tools, within a massive ship. The tech for this is just barely within our capability. Twenty years?
So that does it for travelling in the space-time we're all familiar with. Whether we'll ever get to some "other" space-time is moot.
How do you set about looking for someplace that literally "isn't there"?
I usually refer to Alien Scientist myself. I too believe that intense rotating magnetic fields should generate a THRUST...
...but also present a problem for any brain exposed to it...
But, instead of being rats leaving the sinking ship, perhaps it might be better to be SMART rats and patch up the holes in the ship, so that it continues to sail beautifully through our galaxy.