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Apocalyptic doom-sayers are usually, and understandably, ridiculed.
But people listen up when Stephen Hawking has something to say.
Professor Hawking reportedly told audiences in Beijing that the Earth could be a "sizzling ball of fire" in 600 years, according to various outlets including Forbesand IFLScience.
Not that that gives us any excuse to kick back and relax. We've got to aim for better than 'well, at least it's not a fire ball' for future generations.
Professor Hawking's fiery pronouncement might have been a dramatic sales pitch for a solution to our unsustainable overconsumption and overcrowding.
He mentioned Breakthrough Starshot, an ambitious project to send a spacecraft to the nearest star system beyond our sun, Alpha Centauri. Remarkably, it would only take about twenty years to reach.
The idea is that progenitor vessels will one day send humanity to the stars. Just as scientific and industrial advances may eventually destroy us, they might save us too.
Let's just hope we do a better job looking after future planets, if we ever get there.
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