It may be time to start packing up your things
Remember when Earth gets swallowed whole in Melancholia? (Image via YouTube)
Stephen Hawking is at it again, filling our hearts with optimistic predictions about humanity’s boundless potential. Just kidding. His latest estimation gives us about 100 years to leave the planet or die. Although, given the Trump administration’s latest attack on health care, a 100-year window to set ourselves straight seems pretty generous.
Last year, the famous theoretical physicist estimated we had a solid millennium to avoid near-certain extinction. Facing threats of climate change, nuclear war, overpopulation, asteroid strikes, and a robot takeover, we do have the odds stacked against us. But why the sudden alteration to Earth’s expiration date? Well, there’s a fairly obvious reason Hawking might be peddling a serious dose of doomsday terror: His new BBC documentary about colonizing Mars, Expedition New Earth, airs this June.
Publicity plays aside, how feasible is it for humans to ditch the only home we’ve known and loved for a red rock 34 million miles away? According to Popular Science, it’s theoretically possible, but would take an effort of truly epic proportions. First of all, Mars might not be the wisest option, what with its toxic soil, subzero temperatures, and unbreathable atmosphere. But once you find a habitable spot in the vast reaches of space, the problem then becomes getting a large enough population to that destination in a safe and somewhat reasonable amount of time.
There’s also the question of who’s going to pay for these interstellar projects, as well as who gets to dash off to establish an alien colony. Starting over in a galaxy far, far away doesn’t sound nearly as enticing if we’re just going to take economic disparity with us. Surely, we’re all excited to find out how Hawking addresses these problems in his new documentary, but in the meantime, it might be wise to focus our energies on extending our lease here on Earth first.