In Brief

Stephen Hawking: Humanity Must Colonize Space to Survive

Professor Stephen Hawking speaks about "Why We Should Go into Space" for the NASA Lecture Series, April 21, 2008.
Professor Stephen Hawking speaks about "Why We Should Go into Space" for the NASA Lecture Series, April 21, 2008. (Image credit: NASA/Paul Alers)

Famed British cosmologist Stephen Hawking sees only one way for humanity to survive the next millennium: colonize space. And he's probably right.

In a lecture Tuesday in Los Angles, the 71-year-old Stephen Hawking said humanity would likely not survive another 1,000 years "without escaping beyond our fragile planet," according to the Associated Press.  Hawking has long been an advocate of space exploration as a way to ensure humanity's survival. Living on a single planet leaves us at risk of self-annihilation through war or accidents, or a cosmic catastrophe like an asteroid strike.

Hawking's latest comments were made at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after touring a stem cell laboratory that is studying how to combat Lou Gehrig's disease. He's lived with the debilitating neurological disorder, also called amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, for 50 years and can only communicate via a computer attached to his wheelchair.  

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Tariq Malik

Tariq is the Editor-in-Chief of and joined the team in 2001, first as an intern and staff writer, and later as an editor. He covers human spaceflight, exploration and space science, as well as skywatching and entertainment. He became's Managing Editor in 2009 and Editor-in-Chief in 2019. Before joining, Tariq was a staff reporter for The Los Angeles Times covering education and city beats in La Habra, Fullerton and Huntington Beach. In October 2022, Tariq received the Harry Kolcum Award for excellence in space reporting from the National Space Club Florida Committee. He is also an Eagle Scout (yes, he has the Space Exploration merit badge) and went to Space Camp four times as a kid and a fifth time as an adult. He has journalism degrees from the University of Southern California and New York University. You can find Tariq at and as the co-host to the This Week In Space podcast with space historian Rod Pyle on the TWiT network. To see his latest project, you can follow Tariq on Twitter @tariqjmalik.