Renowned physicist Stephen Hawking predicts humanity has deadline for colonizing another planet

Tom Hinde

Stephen Hawking, the renowned theoretical physicist, predicted humanity has a deadline of 1,000 years to find a new planet to call home. To remain longer, Hawking believes, will place humanity at risk of a mass extinction. The 74-year-old Cambridge professor discussed his concerns during a speech Tuesday at the Oxford University Union.

"I don't think we will survive another 1,000 years without escaping beyond our fragile planet," Hawking stated. He added humankind continues to devour the planet's resources at unsustainable rates. "Our picture of the universe has changed a great deal in the last 50 years..." he added. Thought the challenges we face are immense, Hawking said, it is a "glorious time to be alive and doing research into theoretical physics."

Since 2009, NASA has been hunting for Earth-like planets with potential for human colonization. Researchers have found over 4,600 "candidate" planets and another 2,300 or so confirmed planets.