Stephen Hawking predicts that the world’s mounting population will consume enough energy to render the world a “ball of fire” within 600 years. Speaking via video Sunday at Beijing’s Tencent WE Summit, Hawking declared that humans must “boldly go where no one has gone before” if they wish to survive another million years. For years, Hawking has warned that humankind faces extinction from threats ranging from climate change to destruction from nuclear war and genetically engineered viruses. Hawking recently estimated that humans have 100 years left on Earth — if we’re lucky.
Exploration is one of humanity’s greatest drivers. We’ve moved around the planet and into almost every environment—mountains, deserts, jungles, and swamps. But will we be able to take the next step and adapt ourselves to life beyond the planet? If so, where in space is most habitable for humans? Will it be a planet in the Alpha Centauri star system?
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