What Stephen Hawking Gets Wrong In His Viral Prediction That Humans Should Escape Into Space In 100 Years
Stephen Hawking, the world-renowned astrophysicist, wants humans to flee Earth and colonize a new planet - particularly our far-away neighbor Mars - by 2117.
New Deadline: 100, Not 1,000 Years
In his latest BBC documentary Expedition New Earth, part of the BBC's new science season Tomorrow's World, Hawking claims that the planet is destined for doom. He alludes to existing phenomena we see today that can potentially threaten humanity's very existence - from climate change, asteroid strikes, disease epidemics, and nuclear wars, among many others.
"I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet," the 74-year-old Cambridge professor revealed in a speech at the Oxford University Union back in November 2016.
But things have escalated rather quickly. Now Hawking says Earth's days are down to 100 years.
'Leaving Earth Is Not Going To Save Us From Ourselves'
In his opinion article on Fox News, Michael Guillen, who has a doctorate in in physics, mathematics, and astronomy and who claims to have personally met the famous scientist, challenges Hawking's apocalyptic theory, going so far as to call it "spectacularly unscientific" and also "wrongheaded."
Guillen does not mince words in stating his views on Hawking, whom he describes as the "Donald Trump of science, given to saying outrageous things for the fun of it and to attract attention."
"Let's see if I have this right: we have trashed the Earth - with the help of science, I might add, given that he asserts technology-gone-wrong is part of our current mess - so now what? Earth be damned, we must save our own hides, and quickly?" Guillen says of Hawking's allegedly flawed escape plan.
"Ah, yes. So many more planets to ruin, so little time," he continues.
'The Inevitable Pillaging And Polluting Of Other Worlds'
According to Guillen, scientists have been promoting human space colonization as early as the 1970s, with Princeton's Gerard O'Neill leading the charge.
Guillen says he sees no merit in Hawking's suggestion to run away from a damaged Earth for humanity to survive - aside from boosting space tourism and making tycoons like Elon Musk (SpaceX), Jeff Bezos (Blue Origin), and Richard Branson (Virgin Galactic) richer than they already are.
"How is the inevitable pillaging and polluting of other worlds going to lead to 'the dramatic betterment of humanity?'" he asks, pointing out the space junk humans have littered outer space with.
Guillen also points out the extremely harsh conditions on Mars, with its freezing temperature of minus 195 degrees Fahrenheit (minus 60 degrees Celsius) during winter and barely 70 degrees (20 degrees Celsius) in the summertime. Without a thermal blanket like that of Earth, the red planet cannot keep any heat energy.