Physicist Stephen Hawking in 2017 reasserted his view that humans must become an interstellar species in the nearfuture or risk “being annihilated”.
“The Earth is under threat from so many areas that it is difficult for me to be positive,” the professor said in a speechgiven via video link to the Starmus science conference in Trondheim, Norway.
Hawking has previously predicted that climate change, epidemics and population growth all pose major threats to oursurvival on Earth. In November of 2016, he said humans would need to find a new planet within the next thousand years.
In May 2017, he shortened that prediction to 100 years.
With our childhoods full of stories about space odysseys, and missions like Appollo - Voyager - Saturn V, we have been surrounded by these adventures of human-kind raising the bar in the last century. But as we entered the 21st Century there has been an unignorable slowdown in how humans are pushing towards space.
A major reason for this has been the wave of accidents/launch fails and budget restraints due to the shift in political agendas in the 21st century. This has caused Government lead space agencies - to a slowdown with only them having the collective responsibility of space exploration.
Our take on earth conflicts have also changed how we see and spend our resources today. The argument begins where people compare spending for space exploration with a much huge population to feed. Its surprising to note that defense budget of many front lining countries is 30 times more as their space exploration budget. It clearly indicates human conflict as a major priority for humanity today than exploration, which is somehow a reflection of what people want in a predominantly democratic planet.
In 60’s (during the first manned mission to the moon) USA had 4.5% of total GDP spent on space program, and by 2018 - that spending has been shrunken to 0.5% today. At the same time mining out earth resources at an alarming rate combined with pollution, wars and climate change - the responsibility is not just left to space agencies but the people of this planet as well.
And that’s where Space Race 2.0 has begun