The survival of the human race depends on its ability to find new homes elsewhere in the universe because there's an increasing risk that a disaster will destroy Earth, world-renowned physicist Stephen Hawking said Tuesday.
"It is important for the human race to spread out into space for the survival of the species," Hawking said. "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."
One of the best-known theoretical physicists of his generation, Hawking has done groundbreaking research on black holes and the origins of the universe, proposing that space and time have no beginning and no end.
However, Alan Guth, a physics professor at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, said Hawking's latest observations were something of a departure from his usual research and more applicable to survival over the long-term.
"It is a new area for him to look at," Guth said. "If he's talking about the next 100 years and beyond, it does make sense to think about space as the ultimate lifeboat." Link