All odds are that our planet will eventually crack under the pressure of our society. Not because of our destructive nature but because of the number of humans on Earth. It is slowly becoming overpopulate and there is little we can do about it. That has been on the radar of the entire intellectual community for decades but no one dared to bring its own resolution for that problem. However, one of them decided to “talk” and his humble opinion is that Earth will become a ball of fire in less than 600 years.
That magnificent mind is no one other than Stephen Hawking. If you don’t know, Stephen Hawking is one of the greatest minds our society has ever had. His work will be remembered as important for science as Einstein’s and Tesla’s works are. He is an English theoretical physicist, cosmologist, and Director of Research at the Centre for Theoretical Cosmology within the University of Cambridge. His works include collaboration with Roger Penrose on gravitational singularity theorems as a part of the general relativity research and the theoretical prediction that black holes have to emit radiation which is now called Hawking radiation.
He thinks that people should explore the universe, not because of their curiosity but because that is the only way for the humankind to survive. If we don’t do that, the world will become overpopulated and the increase of energy consumption will destroy this planet.
He actually talked about that at the Tencent WE Summit in Beijing last Sunday. He practically asked all the investors to back his plans for the interstellar travel and the exploration of the Universe with finding the inhabitable planet as the main goal.
Alpha Centauri is the closest star system and it is 4.3 light years away from our solar system.
Scientists who have been researching that star system believe that it may have exo-planets that could sustain life, just like Earth.
Hawking is trying to push his plan forward. It is called the Breakthrough Starshot and it could allegedly make the Interstellar travel much easier. He says that we could reach that star system in 20 years and the plan behind it is to send a tiny aircraft that could travel at the speed of light.
Hawking said that it involves tiny lightweight feel of ships with solar spacecraft named StarChip. They would travel at speeds between 15% and 20% of the speed of light. Sending those spacecraft involves a square-kilometer of 10 kW lasers operating as a phased array.
That kind of a system would reach Mars in less than an hour, Pluto in a matter of days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in 20 years.
The former head at NASA’s Ames Research Center and a Starshot Breakthrough’s director also talked about the project, saying: “maybe if all goes well, sometimes a little after the middle of the century, we will have our first picture of another planet that may be life-bearing orbiting the nearest star.”