Astrophysicist Stephen Hawking has warned that the human race must soon start colonizing the moon and Mars to avoid being wiped out by climate change and overpopulation.
"I am convinced that humans need to leave the Earth," said the renowned cosmologist during a speech at the Storms science festival in Trondheim, Norway, where he urged against humanity becoming a "cosmic sloth," reports The Telegraph.
"The Earth is becoming too small for us, our physical resources are being drained at an alarming rate," said Hawking. "We have given our planet the disastrous gift of climate change, rising temperatures, the reducing of the polar ice caps, deforestation and decimation of animal species."
When we have reached similar crisis in or history there has usually been somewhere else to colonize," Hawking explained. "Columbus did it in 1492 when he discovered the new world. But now there is no new world. No utopia around the corner. We are running out of space and the only places to go to are other worlds."
"The human race has existed as a separate species for about 2 million years," said Hawking, reports Fox News. "Civilization began about 10,000 years ago, and the rate of development has been steadily increasing. If humanity is to continue for another million years, our future lies in boldly going where no one else has gone before."
Hawking also warned that the Earth would be hit in the future by an asteroid, causing massive destruction.
"This is not science fiction," he said. "It is guaranteed by the laws of physics and probability. To stay risks being annihilated."
"Spreading out into space will completely change the future of humanity," Hawking added. "It may also determine whether we have any future at all."
He suggested making plans to transport thousands of people, along with plants, animals and bacteria, to colonies on Mars and the moon. He suggested that a base on the moon could be created in 30 years, and that we could see a base on Mars in 50 years.
"I hope for the best. I have to," Hawking said. "We have no other option."
President Donald Trump has also expressed an interest in space travel. After he signed a bill that would restore NASA's focus on manned space flights, Trump said the U.S. would take "the initial steps toward a bold and bright new future of American space flight," according to The Washington Times.
"Almost half a century ago our brave astronauts first planted the American flag on the moon. That was a big moment in our history," said the president. "Now this nation is ready to be the first in space once again."