Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has a warning for denizens of Earth: Start packing.
In a forthcoming BBC documentary, Hawking says humans have about 100 years to colonize Mars before overpopulation, climate change, disease and artificial intelligences doom Earth, reports The Telegraph. “Expedition New Earth” will show Hawking and other experts exploring the prospects for humans to live in space or other planets, says Newsweek.
Hawking had earlier predicted that humans have about 1,000 years to find a new home, and has long called for colonizing the moon and Mars as insurance against a catastrophe on Earth. It’s not yet clear why he has moved up his deadline.
But Eric Mack, writing in Forbes, doesn’t buy the idea of colonizing other worlds as the solution to Earth’s problems. “Even if Earth were to suffer the catastrophes that Hawking worries about – and they all worry me, too – it would still be more habitable than the moon or Mars,” he argues, although Mack adds that he doesn’t oppose small-scale colonization efforts.