If we start paying heed to what Stephen Hawking and NASA have to say, humans colonising other planets will move beyond science fiction in the years to come. To be precise, Hawking says Earth has 30 years before being wiped out by calamities like climate change and asteroids. The only way to save ourselves is to build a Noah’s Ark and take it to Mars and the moon and start creating a new world.
Hawking said this while making a speech at the Starmus Festival in Norway. According to the Telegraph, he said,
"We have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change, rising temperatures, the reducing of polar ice caps , deforestation, and decimation of animal species. When we have reached similar crises in history, there has usually been somewhere else to colonise. Columbus did it in 1492 when he discovered the new world. But now there is no new world. No Eutopia around the corner. We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds."
In his speech, he also talked about how Earth has become too small to accommodate us as we keep depleting our resources at an alarming rate.
The way he sees it, spreading out into space is the only chance of having any future at all.
He suggested going to the moon or Mars or leaving the solar system altogether and going to Alpha Centauri where scientists have found a planet called Proxima B which they believe to be habitable.
This view is shared by NASA scientists too. Lt. General Larry James, deputy director of Nasa's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, spoke about the plans of establishing a habitat in outer space in his talk at Birla Planetarium titled 'Exploring our world, the solar system and the universe'. According to the Deccan Chronicle, he said,
“We are doing human research in that mission. Next stage is going to lunar space and building habitat there and staying for long periods of time.”
NASA is currently working on a rocket named Space Launch System to take humans to Mars. The first launch is intended for 2019 as there is a lot to be done before this plan can be put into action. After that, it will take five to six months just to reach Mars.