Stephen Hawking: I believe that the long-term future of the human race must be in space. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster on planet Earth in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand, or million. The human race shouldn't have all its eggs in one basket, or on one planet. Let's hope we can avoid dropping the basket until we have spread the load.
I see great dangers for the human race. There have been a number of times in the past when its survival has been a question of touch and go. The Cuban missile crisis in 1963 was one of these. The frequency of such occasions is likely to increase in the future. We shall need great care and judgment to negotiate them all successfully. But I'm an optimist. If we can avoid disaster for the next two centuries, our species should be safe, as we spread into space.
If we are the only intelligent beings in the galaxy, we should make sure we survive and continue. But we are entering an increasingly dangerous period of our history. Our population and our use of the finite resources of planet Earth, are growing exponentially, along with our technical ability to change the environment for good or ill. But our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts that were of survival advantage in the past. It will be difficult enough to avoid disaster in the next hundred years, let alone the next thousand or million. Our only chance of long term survival, is not to remain inward looking on planet Earth, but to spread out into space. We have made remarkable progress in the last hundred years. But if we want to continue beyond the next hundred years, our future is in space. That is why I'm in favor of manned, or should I say "personed," space flight.
Just based on Hawking’s own argument, the fundamental problem is “our genetic code still carries the selfish and aggressive instincts”. Then, that is where we need to explore and reign.
One can go to the other end of the universe, but, if the problem is "in there", the solution won't be "out there".
If mankind reduces the earth to hell, how can mankind be trusted to build where so ever in space, to be heaven?
My Musical “Sensation Millennium’, delivered 1994, dealt with this topic. The story goes like the following:
As the earth is deteriorating, a group is sent to explore the space for another home.
Some planets are not habitable. Some are but already occupied and the inhabitants expel humans.
The group finally finds a planet to stay. But internal power struggle destroys the group.
So, another group has to be sent out to explore, while the power struggle on the earth continues…..