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Sunday, January 8, 2012

Prof. Stephen Hawking's Lecture

Professor Stephen Hawking, that completes 70 years today, was the third in a series of NASA lectures (that's celebrating 50 years). Lectures about the benefits of space exploration, scientific discovery and aeronautics in our life.
The lecture can be read right here. The most important parts of the lecture:
“Why we should go into space? What is that justification for spending all that effort and money on getting a few lumps of moon rock? Aren't there better causes here on Earth? In a way, the situation was like that in Europe before 1492. People might well have argued that it was a waste of money to send Columbus on a wild goose chase. [...]
Spreading out into space will have an even greater effect. It will completely change the future of the human race and maybe determine whether we have any future at all. It won't solve any of our immediate problems on Planet Earth, but it will give us a new perspective on them and cause us to look outwards and inwards. Hopefully, it would unite us to face a common challenge. 
This would be a long-term strategy [...]. We could have a base on the Moon within 30 years or reach Mars in 50 years and explore the moons of the outer planets in 200 years. By "reach," I mean with man or, should I say, person space flight. 
Going into space won't be cheap, but it will take only a small proportion of world resources. NASA's budget  has remained roughly constant in real terms since the time of the Apollo landings, but it has decreased from 0.3 percent of U.S. GDP in 1970 to 0.12 percent now. 
Even if we were to increase the international budget 20 times to make a serious effort to go into space, it would only be a small fraction of world GDP. 
There will be those who argue that it would be better to spend our money solving the problems of this planet, like climate change and pollution, rather than wasting it on a possibly fruitless search for a new planet. 
I am not denying the importance of fighting climate change and global warming, but we can do that and still spare a quarter of a percent of world GDP for space. Isn't our future worth a quarter of percent? 
Read all the lecture, it continues with Prof. Hawking's arguments for invest in Aerospace Agencies, and also he talks about life in Earth, ETs, UFOs, and more.
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