The latest offering in the Alien franchise, Alien: Covenant trailers have been blitzing our screens recently. They show us that yet again, in space no-one can hear you scream. The new trailer follows a team of potential terraformers on their mission to colonise a new planet. It’s going to go horribly wrong, of course. This means Stephen Hawking’s belief that we need to leave the planet or die may not be the news we want to hear. You know, in case our new planet is host to some double-jawed alien. Those things are angry. Shotgun not being one of the people who check out the planet first…
BBC’s new documentary series Stephen Hawking: Expedition New Earth will explore Hawking’s theory that for humankind to survive we need to colonise a new planet. But hey, what’s the worst that could happen if we keep chilling here on Earth? According to Hawking, there will be no more chilling. He believes humankind will die out in the next 100 years as we can’t sustain human life without “escaping beyond our fragile planet.”
Grim, I know. Science always has a way of keeping us in fear, doesn’t it? Hawking sees many threats to our existence, from global warming, to nuclear war *cough* Trump *cough*, to looming asteroids, to genetically engineered viruses. BBC supports his theory, saying “Hawking’s ambition isn’t as fantastical as it sounds—that science fact is closer to science fiction than we ever thought.” Cheers for adding to the tension, BBC.
So, if we’re all doomed here on Earth what’s humanity’s next move? During his Oxford University Union speech in 2016, Hawking points us in one direction: “We must also continue to go into space for the future of humanity.”
There are some, however, who see Hawking’s theory as a tad outlandish. Eric Mack writes in Forbes magazine that people who are seeing Mars, the moon or any other planet as an escape route need a reality check.
“Just cleaning up our own mess and starting over by rising from the rubble seems more practical and more affordable than learning new methods of growing food or surviving radiation poisoning on Mars… somehow, the grass is always greener for some people, even when it’s on a dead Red Planet.”
But Hawking encourages us to be brave and boldly go where no man has gone before “Remember to look up at the stars and not down at your feet. Try to make sense of what you see, wonder about what makes the universe exist. Be curious.”
Hey, until they’ve done an intense double check for aliens (or Predators) on our new planet, I’ll be hanging back here.
After you, Mr Hawking.