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Earth's days are numbered, Hawking says





Beam me up, honey.


Humans must establish a base on the moon and colonize Mars within the next 40 years if we're to avoid extinction from global warming or another catastrophe, astrophysicist Stephen Hawking said yesterday.


"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said at a news conference in Hong Kong.


"Life on Earth is at the ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as sudden global warming, nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus or other dangers we have not yet thought of.


"We won't find anywhere as nice as Earth unless we go to another star system," he added.


Space enthusiasts said Hawking's vision is achievable.


"We're pretty sure that everything we need to live is on Mars. There's plenty of water and there's a little bit of an atmosphere," said Dr. David Robertson, director of the Center for Space Physiology and Medicine at Vanderbilt University.


Humans would likely live in a pressurized, temperature-controlled biosphere that could withstand the frigid nighttime temperatures and thin, dusty atmosphere.


"There's no way you'd live without a space suit, even just to visit," said Louis Friedman, executive director of the Planetary Society.


Science fiction author Kim Stanley Robinson said Hawking's remarks were "a wasted opportunity." "You want to treat this planet like the only one we have because Mars is poisonous," he said.


Originally published on June 14, 2006





Its not as far fetched as it might seem.



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