Stephen Hawking has warned that humanity will be wiped out in the next 1,000 years, unless we colonise another planet.
In an Oxford Union speech, the physicist said we must continue to go into space for the sake of our own survival, the Express reported.
“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” Hawking said.
It’s not the first time Hawking has aired concerns about humanity’s impending self-destruction.
In the afterword of Julian Guthrie’s new book titled ‘How to Make a Spaceship: A Band of Renegades, an Epic Race, and the Birth of Private Spaceflight’, Hawking writes:
“I believe that life on Earth is at an ever-increasing risk of being wiped out by a disaster, such as a sudden nuclear war, a genetically engineered virus, or other dangers.
“I think the human race has no future if it doesn’t go to space.”
Hawking has also repeatedly warned of the threats posed by artificial intelligence.
In 2014, he told the BBC the development of full artificial intelligence “could spell the end of the human race”.
Elon Musk’s SpaceX is at the forefront of efforts to create a second home for humanity on Mars. The firm has committed to landing the first Mars colonisers in 2024.
Meanwhile NASA has a been searching for Earthlike planets in nearby solar systems since 2009.
So far, researchers have discovered more than 4,600 candidate planets and 2,300 confirmed planets.