Peoples Digest Online – Professor Stephen Hawking has warned mankind will destroy the Earth, turning it into a blazing fireball, within the next 600 years. The renowned physicist believes soaring population sizes and increasing demands for energy will lead to the catastrophe.
Humanity should begin looking to the stars to avoid this fate, he argues, with our nearest neighbour Alpha Centauri the best candidate for our escape. Hawking urged potential financial backers to get behind a project that could one day lead to manned flights to the system.
Hawking made the comments while speaking via video link at the Tencent WE Summit held in Beijing.
The British cosmologist, who was diagnosed with motor neuron disease aged 21, is backing the Breakthrough Starshot project.
It would see a nanocraft probe sent to Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years.
Speaking at the conference, he said: ‘The idea behind this innovation is to have the nanocraft on the light beam.
‘Such a system could reach Mars in less than an hour, or reach Pluto in days, pass Voyager in under a week and reach Alpha Centauri in just over 20 years.’
The Alpha Centauri star system is 25 trillion miles (4.37 light years) away.
With today’s fastest spacecraft, it would take about 30,000 years to get there.