Space Travel

Stephen Hawking Says Humans Have 1,000 Years Left on Earth

The world-renowned physicist slaps an expiration date on our planet.
Stephen Hawking Says Humans Have 1,000 Years Left on Earth
Image credit: Jemal Countess | Getty Images

Let's hope U-Haul doesn't charge too much for extra mileage in the next millennium because theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking says humans will need to vacate Earth or face extinction in the next 1,000 years.

"Although the chance of a disaster to planet Earth in a given year may be quite low, it adds up over time, and becomes a near certainty in the next 1,000 or 10,000 years," Hawking said in a lecture about the origins of the universe at Oxford University this week.

Related: Elon Musk, Stephen Hawking Warn That AI Military Robots Could Ignite the Next Global Arms Race

“I don’t think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet,” he continued. “We must continue to go into space for the future of humanity.”

(Note to Elon Musk: hurry up with those Mars plans, dawg!)

Hawking blames the blue planet's potential demise on a multitude of man-created disasters such as nuclear war, genetically engineered viruses and global warming. (He didn't mention reality television, but that might be because his speech was running long.)

Related: Stephen Hawking: Artificial Intelligence Could 'End the Human Race'

His talk wasn't all gloom and doom, however. The great thinker implored his audience, and humankind in general, to enjoy the time we have left with words of inspiration.

“Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet,” he said. “Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious. However difficult life may seem, here is always something you can do and succeed at. It matters that you don’t just give up.”

Edition: December 2016

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